Burnley 2-1 Leicester: Early goal flurry sees Clarets nine points clear
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 14/04/18 7:50pm
Two goals in the opening ten minutes gave Burnley a 2-1 victory against Leicester in the Premier League and put them nine points clear in seventh place.
Chris Wood opened the scoring in the sixth minute as he netted the rebound from a Kasper Schmeichel save, before Kevin Long headed home three minutes later.
Leicester were much improved in the second half and Jamie Vardy (72) scored the reply for the visitors, although they suffered a late blow when Schmeichel had to be substituted in the 86th minute after a crunching tackle from Ashley Barnes.
The win for Burnley sees them move nine points clear in seventh place ahead of Leicester and a step closer to Europa League football next season which could be theirs if they finish in seventh or higher and Southampton do not win the FA Cup.
Burnley: Pope (8), Lowton (7), Long (7), Tarkowski (7), Ward (7), Gudmundsson (7), Cork (7), Westwood (6), Lennon (7), Barnes (7), Wood (7).
Subs used: Hendrick (5), Vokes (n/a).
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Simpson (6), Chilwell (7), Morgan (7), Maguire (7), Silva (6), Choudhury (6), Mahrez (6), Gray (6), Okazaki (6), Vardy (7).
Subs used: Iheanacho (6), Diabate (6), Hamer (n/a).
Man of the match: Nick Pope.
It took six minutes for Burnley to find the back of the net at Turf Moor. A poor attempted clearance from Wes Morgan allowed Ashley Barnes onto the ball, and he picked out Wood down the left of the box. After seeing his initial shot saved by Schmeichel, Wood latched onto the rebounded ball and slotted home at the second time of asking.
Three minutes later, and the hosts doubled their lead. It was another easy goal for Burnley as Johann Berg Gudmundsson whipped a corner into the area, and found the head of the incoming Long at the back post, who powered a header past Schmeichel.
Burnley made one change with Johann Berg Gudmundsson making a return from injury to replace Georges-Kevin Nkoudou. Leicester made three changes with Hamza Choudhury, Demarai Gray and Shinji Okazaki coming into the XI.
Leicester did grow into the game though, and forced two good saves from Nick Pope in the final ten minutes. The first came from a Riyad Mahrez header at the near post, but it landed in the hands of the goalkeeper down low, before Vardy's own headed effort down the middle on the stroke of half-time also went straight into the hands of his England team-mate.
Both sides could have scored the next goal in the opening minutes of the second half. Gudmundsson saw his strike from the top of the area just whistle over the crossbar, before Vardy's attempt to sweep home from the middle of the box was turned around the post by Pope with a fingertip save.
But Vardy did finally beat the Burnley goalkeeper in the 72nd minute. It was a classic break from the Foxes as Kelechi Iheanacho burst through the middle of the park before picking out Vardy through the middle, who hammered home past Pope to score in his fifth consecutive Premier League away game.
Leicester suffered a blow when Schmeichel had to be substituted in the 85th minute after an earlier challenge from Barnes sent him tumbling over. The Burnley striker was booked and the goalkeeper attempted to carry on, but he was eventually replaced by Hamer.
Gareth Southgate was watching on a Turf Moor and would surely have been impressed with Nick Pope who looked calm and assured throughout the game. James Tarkowski also produced another solid performance in the back line, with Harry Maguire doing the same on the opposite side and made some good forward passes in the second half. Jamie Vardy was mostly non-existent in the first half but was much better in the second, and doing his chances no harm by nabbing a good goal with other fine chances coming his way.
- Burnley have won win five consecutive matches in the top-flight for the first time since November 1968 (six in a row).
- This is the first time the Clarets scored two goals within the opening 10 minutes of Premier League game.
- Kevin Long has registered goal involvements in consecutive league games (1 goal, 1 assist) for the first time since December 2011 for Accrington.
- Jamie Vardy has been on the losing side in eight Premier League games this season when he has scored, a record for a single campaign in the competition.
Sean Dyche: "It was a tough game. Leicester have had some ups and downs lately but they are still a very good side, an attacking side with the technical players that they've got," he added.
"But we made a very good, fast start and we took the game on which I was pleased with. We got ourselves in front but it's never comfortable when you're playing a good side."
Claude Puel: "At the beginning of the game, in the first seven or eight minutes, we conceded two goals. It was crazy, but the second half, we had a lot of chances to score and just to score one goal in this game is crazy.
"Perhaps this afternoon, we deserved a different result at the end after all the chances.
Paul Merson: "They were all over them at that stage [late in the game] but Burnley stayed strong and it looks like Europa League for them. It's a big ask for Southampton to win the FA Cup.
"Leicester gave it a go in the second-half but Pope was phenomenal. He produced some world class saves."
Man of the match - Nick Pope
The Burnley goalkeeper was in more superb form on Saturday afternoon, making a number of important saves to keep Leicester at bay and secure a vital win for the hosts.
He was strong from set pieces, coming out to collect cleanly and strongly, and looked at ease as the likes of Vardy and Mahrez peppered his goal towards the end of the first half and for much of the second.
With Tom Heaton watching on from the bench and itching for a place back in the XI, it doesn't look like Pope is giving up his spot without a fight and could well be in between the sticks for the remainder of the season.
Burnley are next in action on Thursday when they welcome Chelsea to Turf Moor live on Sky Sports Premier League. Leicester also play on the same evening at the King Power Stadium as the host Southampton.