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Istanbul Basaksehir 0 Burnley 0

Clarets dig deep to bring Euro tie back to Turf Moor level

9 August 2018

A night of sweat and toil in a steamy Istanbul produced its just rewards for the Clarets as they reached the half-way point of their Europa League third qualifying round on level terms.

The two sides will meet again at Turf Moor next Thursday night when the second leg must produce a winner to, in all likelihood, face Olympiakos for the right to earn a place in the group stages of the competition.

The Greek side put one foot in the play-off round by beating Swiss outfit FC Lucerne 4-0.

But while there was a gulf between the two sides in Athens, there was nothing to separate Burnley and Basaksehir 350 miles away across the Aegean Sea.

The Clarets produced a masterly defensive display  - Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor both coming in and more than playing their part alongside the rock-solid duo of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski - which brought a clean sheet on his Clarets debut for the newly arrived Joe Hart.

And with every one to a man putting in a monumental shift in front of the England goalkeeper, the Clarets’ first European campaign in more than 50 years will still have legs in a week’s time when Sean Dyche’s men know even one goal may be enough to keep the run going.

With injuries stretching his squad and half an eye on Sunday’s Premier League opener, Dyche sent out an unfamiliar-looking line-up for the Clarets’ first competitive game in Turkey.

An instant debut for Hart also added to Burnley’s new look, with his inclusion - along with Bardsley and Jon Walters - providing welcome extra European experience to the visitors’ ranks.

Hart’s next to last game in Europe had been a Champions League semi-final with Manchester City in 2016, while Bardsley played Champions League football with cross-city rivals United and in the UEFA Cup during a loan spell at Rangers.

And the Europa League experience gained by Walters – starting only his second game for the Clarets – included a goal against Turkish opposition in the shape of Besiktas.

Basaksehir’s aim is to challenge Besiktas and the other big guns of Istanbul in their domestic league and having effectively been launched as a force in the city in 2014 this is already their fourth Europa League campaign.

Big-name recruits Emmanuel Adebayor and Artur Turan did not figure but there was a former Premier League presence in home ranks in the shape of ex-Manchester City full-back Gael Clichy and former Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoglu.

And Emre was an influential figure in a first half in which, as expected, Basaksehir saw plenty of the ball.

Technically accomplished they dominated possession but, crucially, failed to find a way through as the Clarets – with new signing Ben Gibson watching from the bench – defended with great discipline.

And when the back line was punctured, Hart stepped up, beating away one angled drive from Junior Caicara and tipping over a header from Manuel da Costa.

Burnley attacks were more sporadic but they did produce a couple of half-chances before the break as they attacked the end where the travelling Clarets’ fans were housed.

From a Bardsley free-kick Mee, fresh from signing his new contract, flicked the ball on for sidekick James Tarkowski, who just failed to get a decisive touch inside the six-yard box.

And following a cross from Walters, Jack Cork headed the ball on for Johann Berg Gudmundsson to flash a volley just over the angle of post and bar.

Having kept themselves very much in the hunt, the Clarets started the second half positively, Jeff Hendrick nearly squeezing the ball past goalkeeper Mert Gunock from an unforgiving angle after another set-piece had unsettled the Basaksehir defence.

But the best chance of the game came with an hour gone with Basaksehir substitute Milos Jojicv given the opportunity to make an instant impression.

Edin Visca’s flick left the Serbia international in the clear but his low strike went the wrong side of the post to find the side netting as the hosts began to crank up the pressure.

Dyche sent on Sam Vokes, the scorer of the Clarets’ away goal in their win over Aberdeen in the previous round, to try and reverse the flow.

And while there was to be no repeat of his Pittodrie heroics, the Clarets made sure the door stayed firmly shut at the other end as they did enough to make the Turf Moor return another potentially special night.

Istanbul Basaksehir: Gunok, Junior, da Costa, Epureanu, Clichy, Tekdemir, Emre, Visca, Kahveci (Jojic 58), Elia (Frei 84), Bajic (Napoleoni 89). Substitutes: Babacan, Attamah, Ucar, Inler.

Booked: None

Burnley: Hart, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Walters, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson (Vokes 62), Hendrick, Barnes (Lennon 77). Substitutes: Legzdins, Lowton, Gibson, Ward, Long.

Booked: Barnes, Hart, Lennon.


Referee: Srdjan Jovanovic (Serbia)

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