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Match Reports

Leicester City 1 Burnley 0

Robbie Brady injured as early Demarai Gray goal just enough to overcome battling Burnley

2 December 2017

Robbie Brady suffered a potentially major injury blow as an early goal from Demarai Gray proved just enough for Leicester City to continue their revival and hand the Clarets only a second away defeat of the season.

The King Power Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for Burnley, who have not won there in a decade.

And their latest foiled attempt to get the better of the 2016 Premier League champions was exacerbated by a knee injury to Brady.

The winger was stretchered off after seemingly twisting a knee following a collision with City defender Harry Maguire with half an hour gone.

And in his absence, Sean Dyche’s men were unable to find an equaliser as the Foxes joined run-away league leaders Manchester City as the only side to send the Clarets off home empty-handed.

But despite the outcome, this performance was light years ahead of the display that brought a 3-0 defeat on the same ground in the early part of last season with Burnley again taking the fight to classy opposition before this time coming out the wrong side of the narrowest of verdicts.

Unsurprisingly, the Clarets were unchanged from the side that had won at Bournemouth in mid-week to secure a fourth away win in a top-flight season for the first time in more than 40 years, but got off to just the start they didn’t want against a Leicester side that has re-discovered its form under new boss Claude Puel.

Riyad Mahrez - key to their title success two seasons - has been getting back to his best and he paved the way for the opening goal with just five minutes gone.

The Algeria international swung in a dangerous left-footed cross which had Nick Pope in two minds as the Clarets’ keeper managed only to palm the ball into the path of Gray, who was rewarded for gambling with a run which ended with him poking home his second goal of the season.

The Clarets’ response was impressive, with the in-form Brady – who might have had a spot-kick even before Leicester scored after being caught on the foot by a stray boot from Wes Morgan – behind much of their good work as the visitors looked for a quick reply.

Former Leicester striker Chris Wood was first to threaten, this time following the determination and invention of Jeff Hendrick, as only a heavy touch from Hendrick’s deflected cross allowed Kasper Schmeichel to come out and smother at his feet.

James Tarkowski then headed wide from a Brady corner, Schmeichel saved a Johann Berg Gudmundsson volley after Wood had nodded on a Brady cross and then another viciously swinging delivery from Brady looked destined for Wood’s forehead until England defender Maguire made a vital interception.

Sadly, though, that was Brady’s last major contribution as his eagerness to try and make something else happen proved costly as he overran the ball and went to ground awkwardly after colliding with Maguire as he tried to keep the move alive.

After several minutes of treatment Brady was stretchered off and took some of the Clarets’ momentum with him as they headed into the break still one goal behind thanks to a save from Pope following a run and shot from the impressive Mahrez.

Burnley – with Scott Arfield having replaced Brady - looked to lift the pace after the re-start and saw plenty of the ball as they tried to carve out an opening.

And having just survived a scare at the other end, Phil Bardsley clearing off the line after Pope had done well to thwart Morgan, they got one with an hour gone.

Gudmundsson launched the counter-attack from the edge of Burnley’s penalty area and after continuing his run was released by Hendrick. The Icelander had the pace to get beyond Morgan but with defender snapping at his heels, couldn’t beat Schmeichel with a well-struck effort that the keeper blocked with his legs.

With 25 minutes to go Dyche made his first optional change and with Ashley Barnes replacing Steven Defour, went to a 4-4-2 formation to try and increase the pressure further on the Foxes’ back four.

Inevitably the Clarets’ need to commit men forward left them vulnerable on the break to the pace of Mahrez and Gray and on 71 minutes the latter struck the foot of a post via a touch from the heel of Tarkowski as Leicester came within inches of killing off the game.

With only one goal in it there was always hope for the Clarets as they gave everything to try and find a way through, substitute Sam Vokes heading just wide from a corner and Barnes testing Schmeichel with a low strike.

But to their credit, Leicester - now beaten just once in six games - defended resolutely and it took a stoppage-time save from Pope to deny dangerman Mahrez adding a second goal as the Clarets’ climb up the table was temporarily halted.

Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Defour (Barnes 66), Cork, Brady (Arfield 30), Hendrick, Wood (Vokes 73). Substitutes: Lindegaard, Taylor, Westwood, Long.

Booked: Bardsley, Mee.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Maguire, Morgan, Chilwell, Iborra, Ndidi, Gray (Okazaki 87), Albrighton, Mahrez, Vardy. Substitutes: Hamer, Fuchs, Dragović, King, Iheanacho, Ulloa.

Booked: None

Referee: Paul Tierney

Attendance: 30,714


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