Manchester City 2-1 Burnley: Fernandinho sent off as Pep Guardiola's side hold on
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 03/01/17 8:19am
Manchester City moved back into the top four of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Burnley despite having Fernandinho sent off in the first half.
City, who started with Sergio Aguero and David Silva on the bench, struggled in the early stages at the Etihad Stadium and were on the back foot when Fernandinho was shown his third red card in six matches for lunging in two-footed on Johann Berg Gudmundsson in the 32nd minute.
Pep Guardiola called for Aguero and Silva at half-time and he got a response from City, who took the lead thanks to a rare Gael Clichy goal in the 58th minute.
Aguero then doubled his side's advantage four minutes later, but it was a nervy ending for City after Ben Mee pulled a goal back 20 minutes from time.
Claudio Bravo made a fine late save from Michael Keane to prevent Burnley snatching a point as City held on for three valuable points that moves them back up to third ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham, who play on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
Kelechi Iheanacho was handed a starting role in place of Aguero and he almost got on the scoresheet after being played in by Raheem Sterling, but Tom Heaton got an important hand to the ball as the striker tried to go round him. The rebound then fell to Sterling but Heaton again made a crucial intervention to round off a fine double save.
Heaton was called into action again in the 19th minute, diving to his left to keep out Yaya Toure's firmly struck shot.
Minutes later Kevin De Bruyne fired wide from 20 yards as City started to take a firm hold of the game, but that all changed in the 32nd minute.
The hosts were down to 10 men as Fernandinho launched himself two-footed at Gudmundsson, catching the Iceland international on the ankle.
Referee Lee Mason took his time before going to his pocket and brandishing a second red card of the league campaign to the Brazilian midfielder.
It could have got even worse for City four minutes later as Ashley Barnes drove forward for the visitors, but the striker sliced his shot wide of Bravo's goal.
Burnley were now seeing much more of the ball but it was City, despite their numerical disadvantage, who nearly broke the deadlock as Iheanacho beat the offside trap but he could not bring down Toure's pass.
That proved to be Iheanacho's last involvement as Guardiola made a double change at the break with the Nigeria striker and Jesus Navas replaced by Aguero and Silva.
City responded with a much improved performance and their breakthrough came just before the hour as Keane headed Bacary Sagna's cross straight to Clichy. The French left-back shifted the ball onto his right foot before striking a powerful low shot through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner for only his third Premier League goal in 311 matches.
Within moments, City doubled their lead as Sterling raced through on goal, and although he stumbled trying to go round Heaton, the ball feel to Aguero, who found the back of the net from the tightest of angles.
Despite being down to 10 men, City were in cruise control but Burnley did hit back in the 70th minute to make life uncomfortable for the hosts with Mee crashing a volley off the underside of the crossbar and in after Bravo flapped at a corner.
There was initial confusion as play continued after the goal but referee Mason, aided by goal-line technology, eventually awarded the goal.
Aguero almost made it 3-1 after a quick break from De Bruyne but Matt Lowton brilliantly blocked his shot, and it proved to be a nervy ending as Burnley pushed for an equaliser.
Bravo was forced into action late on, palming over an effort from Keane, as Burnley kept the pressure on to the end.
Man City: Bravo (7), Sagna (7), Kolarov (7), Otamendi (6), Clichy (7), Navas (5), De Bruyne (7), Fernandinho (4), Yaya Toure (6), Sterling (7), Iheanacho (6).
Subs: Aguero (8), Silva (7), Stones (n/a)
Burnley: Heaton (7), Lowton (7), Keane (7), Mee (7), Ward (7), Boyd (7), Hendrick (7), Arfield (6), Gudmundsson (6), Barnes (7), Gray (7).
Subs: Defour (6), Bamford (n/a), Vokes (6).
Man of the Match: Sergio Aguero