Burnley vs Southampton. Premier League.
Report and highlights as VAR plays its part in the Turf Moor encounter
Saturday 10 August 2019 19:36, UK
A second-half double from Ashley Barnes helped Burnley to a comfortable 3-0 win against Southampton in their opening game of the Premier League season.
After a goalless first half, all of Burnley's strikes came within 11 minutes and Barnes nabbed the first two. His first (63) came after an error from Jannik Vestergaard allowed him through, and he followed it up with an impressive tap in for the second (70).
It was a superb solo effort from Johann Berg Gudmundsson (74) for Burnley's third, which was given after a brief VAR review for a challenge in the build-up.
Burnley could have won by more after they had a first-half goal ruled out by VAR for offside against Barnes, while new Southampton signing Che Adams also escaped a sending off after a crunching challenge on Ben Mee was reviewed.
Adams almost got his full debut off to a perfect start when he went close inside two minutes. Yan Valery put in a wonderful cross from the right, which Adams was able to get a high foot to, but he could only direct it past the post.
Burnley: Pope (7), Lowton (6), Clark (6), Tarkowski (7), Mee (7), McNeil (6), Westwood (6), Pieters (7), Gundmundsson (7), Wood (6), Barnes (8).
Subs used: Rodriguez (n/a), Lennon (n/a).
Southampton: Gunn (6), Vestergaard (5), Bertrand (6), Stephens (6), Bednarek (6), Romeu (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Redmond (7), Valery (6), Ings (6), Adams (6).
Subs used: Obafemi (5), Hojbjerg (5), Boufal (4).
Man of the match: Ashley Barnes.
16 minutes into the game VAR made itself known at Turf Moor. Jack Stephens slipped as he tried to stop a long Burnley pass, allowing Barnes to nip through and square the ball for Chris Wood. He duly slotted home, but the linesman's flag had long been raised against Barnes, sending the goal to a VAR review. It did not take long, however, to spot that the Burnley striker had been offside and the goal was ruled out.
Burnley's best chance of the half came just before the half-hour mark as Gudmundsson went close. Matt Lowton picked out the Iceland international at the top of the area and with few defenders around him, Gudmundsson set up a shot but fired just past the post.
A few minutes later, VAR was again in action after a foul from Adams on Ben Mee was reviewed for a possible red card. The Southampton striker looked to rake his studs down Mee's shins, but after a discussion between referee Graham Scott and the VAR team at Stockley Park, nothing was given.
Just after the hour mark, the floodgates opened. Erik Pieters pumped the ball forward for the waiting Barnes, with Vestergaard completely misjudging the pass and slipping over as he tried to head it away. This allowed Barnes through and he controlled the ball with his body before sweeping home through the legs of Angus Gunn.
It was a similar story for the second in the 70th minute. Pieters floated another superb pass to the far post, taking out much of Southampton's defensive line. Barnes was waiting to tap home with his first touch, doubling his and Burnley's tally.
Four minutes later, it was three for the hosts with a wonderful effort from Gudmundsson. It was a mostly scrappy affair in midfield and it showed again as he nicked the ball back from the feet of Ryan Bertrand. He then drove down the left flank before cutting into the area and firing home on a tight angle.
The challenge in the build-up was subject to a VAR review but after a brief consultation, the decision to allow the goal was not deemed a clear and obvious error and it stood to help Burnley to a worthy opening weekend victory.
It was an impressive attacking performance from Barnes, who must have been feeling a bit of pressure with Jay Rodriguez watching on from the bench. Even in the first half, he set up Wood for a goal - albeit ruled out for offside - and came to life in the second period.
His two goals were of superb quality, both showing great control and composure, and he was unlucky not to get his hat-trick as he stood waiting to turn Gudmundsson's cross - which turned out to be the third goal - home.
He has now scored 34 Premier League goals for Burnley - 14 more than any other player for the club - and has got his season off to the best possible start.
Sean Dyche: "I'm very pleased. The first day of the season is not an easy day because everyone is talking about what could happen and you want to be on the right side of it, which we were today - deservedly so overall. I've been really impressed with the players in pre-season and I thought they got a just reward for all the work they put in during pre-season with a good performance today.
"In the second half, I thought we started to ask more questions. It's a brilliant [first] goal and what a finish [from Barnes] - touch and hit, that's a tough skill to perform and he's caught it sweetly.
"The second is a fine goal, the build-up play is good and controlled and it's a great ball in from Erik Pieters and a great finish. To finish it off, there's a very good goal from Gudmundsson, who has been very good this pre-season."
Ralph Hasenhuttl: "You know what you have to expect here at Burnley. For 60 minutes, I thought it was a very tight, equal game. I don't think they had a chance until the first goal and one long ball, one bit of bad timing and suddenly, you're done.
"It [the 11-minute collapse] is something we have to speak about because if you conceded a goal, it can happen, but the reaction was not really the best one and I think if we know what quality we have to come back, then we must do everything that can be done to get the second one. But after that, the game was gone."
Next up for Burnley is a trip to Arsenal on Saturday while Southampton welcome Liverpool to St Mary's.