Saturday, February 3, 2018 8:36 pm
Premier League leaders Manchester City paid the price for missed chances as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Burnley on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s 82nd minute equaliser ensured that the hosts earned a share of the spoil at Turf Moor.
City had dominated possession throughout most of the game, which they strolled through for large spells.
But after taking the lead with a beautiful strike from Brazilian Danilo in the 22nd minute, they failed to press home their advantage.
Raheem Sterling produced one of the misses of the season – somehow putting the ball wide just one metre out from the empty goal and Burnley made the most of that let-off.
City extended their lead to 16 points over second-placed rivals Manchester United, who were hosting Huddesfield Town later on Saturday. City now have 69 points from 26 games.
City manager Pep Guardiola, without the injured David Silva, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, named only six substitutes including club record signing Aymeric Laporte, signed for a club record 57 million pounds last week.
In an attacking line-up, Burnley boss Sean Dyche gave winger Aaron Lennon his first start since joining from Everton.
City went ahead when a short corner was worked to Danilo and, enjoying plenty of space, the Brazilian unleashed an unstoppable drive from outside the area.
The Clarets were struggling to create openings but when Jack Cork looped the ball into the area, it fell to defender Ben Mee whose volley forced a good save from Ederson.
Former City youth team player Mee had another half-chance minutes later but his header from a corner flashed just wide.
City showcased their quality in the 39th minute with a flowing move from the back, ending with a powerful drive from Kevin De Bruyne which keeper Nick Pope did well to keep out.
After the break, there was almost a repeat of the opening goal when City again found Danilo from a corner but this time the full back’s shot was tipped over by Pole.
Somehow Burnley was still in the game and they came close to leveling when a fine Lennon strike was pushed against the woodwork by Ederson.
That brought the game to life and City pushed forward with increased urgency and should have doubled their leads when Kyle Walker played the ball across the face of goal and somehow Sterling put it wide from point-blank range.
City was made to pay when Burnley substitute Matt Lowton floated in a cross from the right and Gudmundsson met it on the half-volley to fire home.
The hard-fought draw gave the hosts one of the more memorable results of a season that has defied expectations.
Man City boss Guardiola, expressed disappointment after the match, saying that even though his side’s performance was outstanding, they missed a lot of chances at goal.
“Of course we are frustrated in terms of the result but the performance is outstanding against a Burnley side who are the most British of teams in terms of long balls and the way they play.
“But football is about goals. We need to score the second, third and fourth when we have the chance.
“When you arrive in the last 15 minutes at Burnley 1-0, this is what can happen. I’m sad for the players because we played so well.
“What they have done this season, Burnley, is amazing. We controlled the game, but when we arrived in the last minutes at 1-0, there was danger,’’ he said.
Burnley manager Dyche in his post-match reaction, hailed his team for putting up a good performance against the premier league leaders, adding that they had to dig in to get a result.
“I was really pleased. City is a top class side. We’ve been beaten 3-0 and 4-1 by them in our two previous games. We have to change something.
“We didn’t really play with the quality needed in the first half.
“In the second half, City started really well and we had to dig in and did the ugly stuff. Then the confidence started to build.
“We started putting quality into their box, and in the end it was a fantastic ball and a fantastic goal.
“We don’t dominate too many games with the ball so we’ve got to keep our shape. You can’t all be glory. Not when you’re us.
“You have to do the ugly stuff. But we still have some fine quality and we show that with goal.
“We are not saying we’re the real deal but we’re working hard to be better than last season and we’re doing that.”
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