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Match Reports

Burnley 0 Espanyol 2

5 August 2018

The Clarets rounded off their pre-season with a low-key Turf Moor defeat to a strong Espanyol side.

The final warm-up game saw Sean Dyche rest the players who endured 120 minutes in Thursday night’s thrilling European victory over Aberdeen.
 
And in a game overshadowed by the joint club record signing of Ben Gibson from Middlesbrough, second half goals from Didac and Darder proved enough to earn victory for the La Liga side.
 
Ben Gibson watches on
 
In a first, Gibson’s signing was announced during the first half at Turf Moor, where Clarets boss Dyche was true to his word, making 11 changes from the side that conquered in the breathless Europa League ‘Battle of Britain’ tie three days earlier.
 
In contrast, Espanyol fielded arguably their strongest line-up ahead of the start of the La Liga season in two weeks’ time.
 
And it was a bright start from the Spaniards, whose slick passing was easy-on-the-eye in the early stages.
 
 
Adam Legzdins, making his second start for the club, was especially impressive in the opening half, beginning his repertoire of saves with a comfortable save from Didak’s effort, then rising to tip over Hermosa’s powerful 20th minute header.
 
Kevin Long headed wide from Burnley’s first chance midway through the half, from a second successive corner from Dwight McNeil.
 
But it was Legzdins who was again forced into action soon after, diving low to his left to superbly turn David Lopez’s fierce drive round the post.
 
And the last line of defence again came to the Clarets’ rescues on the half hour, superbly denying Perez with an outstretched leg as the midfielder looked certain to open the scoring.
 
However, Espanyol finally broke Legzdins’ resistance five minutes after the break, when slick passing ended with Didac toe-poking the ball under the Clarets stopper from six yards.
 
 
Garcia was close to doubling the lead soon after, cutting inside onto his right foot and curling just over the angle.
 
Meanwhile, Dwight McNeil was again catching the eye, and the Clarets’ midfielder forced the first meaningful save of the afternoon from Roberto on the hour mark, controlling on the edge of the box and forcing the keeper to parry away his angled effort.
 
But the Spaniards had the last word, doubling their lead three minutes from time.
 
Piatti had come close minutes before, screwing his shot wide from 10 yards after being well picked out in a crowded box, before Puado curled an effort narrowly wide.
 
But Darder made no mistake, firing low into the bottom corner from 20 yards to seal the victory.
 
BURNLEY: Legzdins, Bardsley, Dunne, Long, Taylor, Hendrick, O’Neill, McNeil (Goodridge 89), Walters, Wells, Agyei (Koiki 65).
Subs: Trialist, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Cork, Westwood, Vokes, Clarke, Benson, Bayode.
 
ESPANYOL (starting): Roberto, Iglesias, Garcia, Darder, Didac, Melendo, David Lopez, J Lopez, Perez, Roca, Hermoso.
Subs: Diogo Lopez, Pipa, Victor, Naldo, Duarte, Alvaro, Baptistao, Lopez, Piatti, Puado.
 
Ref: L Mason

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