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Match Reports

Burnley 1 Manchester City 1

Johann Berg Gudmundsson goal caps superb fightback as Clarets hold leaders

3 February 2018

A wonderful late equaliser from Johann Berg Gudmundsson slowed Manchester City’s march to glory as the Clarets showed again they can live the best.

Danilo’s first-half strike had City heading for an 11th away win of a remarkable season that will surely end with them lifting the Premier League title.

But whereas Pep Guardiola’s big-money outfit have swept all before them, Burnley refused to buckle.

And after defending for their lives to stay in the hunt, Sean Dyche’s men mounted a storming late fightback which brought them a top-class strike from Gudmundsson eight minutes from time and a cherished first point at Turf Moor in four games.

City keeper Ederson had previously proved unbeatable but even the Brazilian international had no answer to Gudmundsson’s second goal of the season which means the Clarets have now taken something from each of the top five teams in the table.

Among all the pre-match hype over Guardiola’s call for more protection for his players, it was claret and blue shirts littering the pitch in the opening minutes as Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes and Phil Bardsley all required treatment.

Physio Ally Beattie was over-worked as he then had to revive goalkeeper Nick Pope after a collision with City captain Vincent Kompany as the visitors probed for the opening goal.

Burnley did a decent job at keeping them at bay with a disciplined defensive effort, while trying to release the pressure the twin outlet of Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes.

The pair started together for just the second time in the league this season – Jeff Hendrick moving back into central midfield in place of Ashley Westwood – as Dyche went for a positive approach to try and slow City’s romp towards the title, also giving a first start to January signing Aaron Lennon on the left wing.

That also helped to restrict City’s ability to work the ball out from the back at will, although when it clicked, their counter-attacking was of breath-taking quality.

But, as so often is the case against the champions-elect, just when it looked as though all bases are covered, City went in front after 22 minutes.

Danilo wasn’t the obvious threat when Kevin De Bruyne lined up a corner, but when the former Real Madrid full-back was given the ball he was allowed too much time to advance towards the Clarets’ penalty area and bend a vicious strike beyond Pope.

Having dropped points in only three games this season, City rarely relinquish a lead.

But Burnley’s response was superb as they immediately tried to hit back and it was former City youngster Ben Mee who twice went close to levelling.

Mee’s last goal had come at City 13 months ago and he almost repeated the trick with a fine strike after half an hour.

Jack Cork lifted the ball back in after a free-kick had been headed clear and Mee’s left-footed volley was headed for the bottom corner until Ederson made an excellent save.

The Clarets’ skipper then headed just wide following a corner but Burnley made sure they were still in the game at half-time as Pope stood firm to deny de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero – who has had scored in his previous four games against the Clarets – a second City goal just before the break.

With Bardsley struggling to shake off his early knock, Matt Lowton started the second half to make his 50th Premier League appearance for the Clarets.

And Lowton made a vital early contribution as he blocked an effort from Aguero after City’s record goalscorer had danced his way through the Clarets’ defence.

Aguero then created the next chance for Raheem Sterling which the England international lifted over the top and Danilo almost repeated his first-half strike with an effort which Pope touched over the bar at full stretch as City went for the kill.

But while it was still 1-0 the Clarets always had a chance of getting something and after Ilkay Gundogan had been booked for a foul on Lennon, Gudmundsson’s free-kick was only inches away from Vokes and Mee with 25 minutes to go.

And the Clarets then went even closer to an equaliser five minutes later when only another fantastic save from Ederson denied Lennon a dream start to his Turf Moor career.

Gudmundsson, driving Burnley on after being switched to the left flank at the break, created the danger with a run into the box before Jack Cork ferried the ball into the path of Lennon, whose shot from 10 yards was destined for the roof of the net before Ederson stuck out a hand to divert the ball onto the bar and away to safety.

Sterling was then guilty of a remarkable miss at the other end – poking the ball wide from two yards out – as the game became wide open and the Clarets had a real go at saving a point.

Lennon sliced another shot wide but there was a feeling a goal was coming as the Clarets gave everything to earn some reward from their growing pressure.

And when it did arrive with eight minutes to go it was a gem to secure a second successful comeback in the space of four days.

The impressive Lowton had already delivered a couple of inviting crosses as he linked well with Lennon and helped take the fight to City.

And the full-back's latest effort was superbly swung in for Gudmundsson to run onto and drive a perfect first-time finish past Ederson to leave Turf Moor - and the would-be champions - rocking on another red-letter day.

Burnley: Pope, Bardsley (Lowton HT), Long, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Hendrick, Cork, Lennon, Barnes, Vokes. Substitutes: Lindegaard, Nkoudou, Westwood, Wells, Arfield, O’Neill.

Booked: Long, Cork, Mee, Barnes

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo, Fernandinho, B Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling (Diaz 74), Aguero. Substitutes: Bravo, Laporte, Adarabioyo, Zinchenko, Toure.

Booked: Gundogan

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 21,658

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