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Match Reports

Burnley 0 Manchester United 2

2 September 2018

The Clarets headed into a welcome international break with work to do, after Manchester United provided under-fire boss Jose Mourinho some welcome respite.

Romelu Lukaku's first half brace took the wind from the Clarets’ sails as they looked to replicate the energetic performance against Olympiakos in their midweek Europa League exit, which had led to manager Sean Dyche claiming the players had "regained their identity.

But they were second best against a slick United side that started well and deservedly took a stranglehold of the game before the break.

Burnley improved in the second half, which saw United reduced to 10 men following Marcus Rashford’s naïve red card, shortly after Joe Hart’s penalty save to deny Lukaku a hat-trick.

But United eventually ran out worthy winners, leaving the Clarets looking to reboot their season following the two-week break.

Sean Dyche made three changes to the side that lost at Fulham, with full backs Charlie Taylor and Phil Bardsley replacing Stephen Ward and Matt Lowton.

And following his impressive display in the Europa League against Olympiakos, there was a full Premier League debut for Dwight McNeil.

Ironically, the Rochdale-born teenager spent nine years with the Reds’ up until the age of 14.

And the 18-year-old proudly became the club’s first Academy recruit to start in the top flight since Joe Jakub in 1976.

United, who lost two of their opening three league matches of a season for the first time since 1992, also made three changes as Jose Mourinho sought the winning formula.

And looking pretty in pink, the visitors flew from the traps following an impeccably held minute's silence in memory of Clarets legend Jimmy McIlroy, whose moving funeral took place the previous day.

with Jesse Lingard inches away from opening the scoring in the third minute, before Luke Shaw, fresh from his first United goal, fired straight at Joe Hart.

Burnley struggled to cope with United’s crisp passing in the opening quarter hour, but slowly eased themselves into the game.

However, 25 minutes in, United took the lead in the simplest of fashions.

More slick passing kept the Clarets on their toes, and eventually, on the left side of the area, Alexis Sanchez hung up a cross that Lukaku rose to nod unchallenged past Hart.

Ten minutes from half time, the two came face to face again, with Lukaku leading a counter and exchanging passes smartly with Sanchez to find himself in on goal.

But this time the Clarets keeper came out on top, spreading himself to make a terrific save from the dangerous Belgian striker.

McNeil was constantly looking to get on the ball on the left of the Burnley midfield, and it was the youngster who had the first shot on target as half time approached, with a low shot that deflected straight to David de Gea.

But moments later, United doubled their advantage as Shaw and Lindegard combined for a shot that cannoned off both Taylor and Westwood and fell fortuitously into the path of Lukaku, who made no mistake from six yards.

That left the Clarets with a mountain to climb in the second half.

Immediately though, the tempo was greater, although De Gea was still well protected by his back line by the hour mark, when Dyche rolled the dice by swapping Hendrick for Vokes as the Welshman joined Chris Wood in attack.

And within minutes, Wood got on the end of a McNeil cross to force a comfortable save from De Gea.

That raised the noise levels inside Turf Moor as, with McNeil again catching the eye, the Clarets enjoyed their best moments of the half.

And the game soon erupted into controversy, beginning with the award of a debatable penalty, for a shove by Lennon on Rashford midway through the half.

However, despite Lukaku being on a hat-trick it was Pogba who stepped up, and, following his trademark stop-start run-up, Hart made a terrific save low to his left.

And moments later the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Rashford - on the field for only nine minutes as a substitute – needlessly stuck his head into Phil Bardsley’s face as the two players tussled on the touchline.

Luke Shaw then went into overworked referee Jon Moss’s notebook for a cynical foul on Lennon.

Lukaku, meanwhile, was a constant menace. And the striker seemed nailed-on to finally complete his treble 10 minutes from time as he sprinted clear of Ben Mee and rounded Hart.

Somehow though, skipper Mee got back to make a goal-saving challenge and deny the Belgian.

Burnley rallied again and Vokes and fellow sub Matej Vydra came close.

But by now it was too little, too late and, by their own admission, the Clarets head into a welcome two-week shutdown looking to reboot and kick-start their season.

Burnley: Hart, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Lennon, Westwood, Hendrick (Vokes 58), Cork, McNeil (Barnes 81) Wood (Vydra 84).
Subs: Heaton, Lowton, Ward, Long

United: De Gea, Lindelof, Pogba, Sanchez (Rashford 61), Lukaku, Smalling, Lingard (Herrera 76), Shaw, Valencia, Fellaini, Matic.
Subs: Grant, Bailly, Martial, Fred, Young.

Ref: J Moss

Att: 21,525


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