Burnley 0-0 Brighton: Draw strengthens Clarets' Europa League football hopes
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 28/04/18 6:00pm
Burnley strengthened their chance of a place in next season's Europa League after a 0-0 draw with Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday.
The hosts' best chance came in the first half when Kevin Long's point-blank shot was blocked on the line by Shane Duffy.
Brighton struggled to create any clear-cut chances, with Bruno coming closest for Chris Hughton's side in the 18th minute, but neither team could break the deadlock in a lacklustre second half.
A point for both sides means Burnley have virtually secured European qualification in seventh due to eighth-placed Everton's inferior goal difference. Brighton, meanwhile, are now five points clear of the relegation zone in 14th.
Burnley: Pope (6), Lowton (6), Tarkowski (7), Long (7), Ward (6), Gudmundsson (7), Cork (6), Westwood (6), Lennon (5), Wood (6), Barnes (6)
Subs: Vokes (7), N'Koudou (6), Hendrick (6)
Brighton: Ryan (8), Bruno (6), Dunk (7), Duffy (7), Bong (6), Kayal (6), Stephens (6), Knockaert (6), Gross (6), Izquierdo (7), Ulloa (6)
Subs: March (6), Murray (5), Schelotto (6)
Man of the Match: Mathew Ryan
In a tightly-contested first half, the first real opportunity came to Brighton's right-back Bruno in the 18th minute as his volley fizzed past Nick Pope's near post at a corner.
Five minutes later and Burnley spurned the half's greatest opportunity to take the lead. Johann Gudmundsson's dangerous free-kick was stabbed towards goal by Ashley Barnes, but goalkeeper Mat Ryan got down to block before he quickly pushed the ball away.
Burnley's Long latched onto James Tarkowski's clever back-heel on the rebound, but Duffy made a goal-saving block to deny the hosts the game's opener. Protests of a Duffy handball were waved away by referee Roger East.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche named an unchanged side.
For Brighton, Glenn Murray dropped to the bench and Leonardo Ulloa took his place up top.
Brighton began the second half with more attacking impetus. In the 48th minute, Jack Stephens engineered a chance outside the box, but Pope comfortably got down low to make the necessary stop.
Sean Dyche brought on Sam Vokes for Chris Wood in the 66th minute, who looked to be carrying a knock, and the Wales international came close to scoring with his first touch. However, he couldn't direct his ricocheted effort from a Gudmundsson set-piece beyond Ryan.
Both teams cancelled each other out defensively and the match fizzled out with a goalless draw looking likely to benefit the two parties.
- Courtesy of this goalless draw, Burnley ended a run of eight top-flight home games without a clean sheet.
- Brighton have bagged a league-low nine away goals in the Premier League this season.
- Brighton have lost on just one of their last eight league visits to Turf Moor (W2 D5).
- Only against Tottenham (8 games), has Sean Dyche faced an opponent more often in all competitions as Burnley manager than Brighton (7) without enjoying a single victory.
- Brighton have been involved in a joint-league-high five goalless draws in the Premier League this season, level with Southampton.
- A league-high 17 of Burnley's Premier League games this season have been goalless at half-time, with Brighton, Huddersfield and West Brom next (all on 15).
Sean Dyche: It was a game of huff and puff. Lacking quality today from both sides, I thought, but a lot of endeavour, good habits and doing the basics well.
It's hard to questions these lads. We've come a long way this season so the odd dip in form or performance and you still come out with a point, that's probably a good measure actually of how far we've come.
Chris Hughton: A tough game for sure and you expect nothing less when you come here - particularly with the form they're in and the season they've had. I thought we were the better side today, that looked more likely to score.
They're very aggressive in their 4-4-2, and in their front lines, but I thought we had a defence that defended very well but I thought we had the better of the moments.
England World Cup watch
It was a successful afternoon for Burnley's England internationals involved. Nick Pope and James Tarkowski both kept the Brighton attack at bay.
Brighton's Glenn Murray may not have done much to impress England boss Gareth Southgate. He struggled to make a significant impact off the bench and picked up a yellow card.
Man of the Match - Mathew Ryan
Ryan was tested a few times by the Burnley attack and pulled off an excellent stop to deny Barnes in the first half.
He showed good composure to come and deal with a number of crosses into the box, and strongly commanded his area as Brighton held on for the clean sheet.
Burnley travel to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal. Brighton, meanwhile, take on Manchester United - live on Sky Sports Premier League - on Friday.