Burnley 2-1 Leicester City: City suffer back-to-back defeats
By Ben Sanderson
Leicester City suffered their second defeat in a row and their fourth loss in six games as Burnley came from behind to defeat them 2-1 at Turf Moor.
Leicester, who last week succumbed to Southampton who they had earlier in the season destroyed 9-0, went ahead in the 33rd minute due to a low strike from Harvey Barnes.
Burnley equalised after Chris Wood tapped home from a corner following a Ben Mee header which was parried away by City ‘keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Ashley Westwood completed the turnaround on 79 minutes, slamming home into the left-hand bottom corner of the net after being gifted the ball by Foxes defender Jonny Evans.
Leicester got a penalty in the second half, but Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope saved that from Jamie Vardy, and the rebound shot afterwards, as the Clarets secured their first victory since the turn of the year.
Leicester started the game well and Barnes in particular shone, the winger having a shot from a good angle caught by Pope in the opening minute.
Barnes crossed into the six-yard box not long later and his shot was blocked by James Tarkowski’s sliding challenge.
Vardy avoided Pope coming off his goal-line in the 13th minute and then crossed to James Maddison, but Maddison’s shot was blocked as Burnley covered their tracks.
Leicester remained in and around Burnley’s box until Barnes broke the deadlock.
He was in a great deal of space as Maddison tackled Jack Cork in the centre circle and Vardy ran to divert Tarkowski, allowing Barnes to dribble into enough space to get his shot off, which deflected off Pope into the back of the net from the right-hand side of the penalty area.
Other than a free-kick cross to Ayoze Perez which was headed over the crossbar at the end of the first half, Leicester saw out the first-half with caution to protect their lead.
The second half saw Pope brought into action immediately as he made a great diving save to keep out Dennis Praet’s shot after a good passing move saw Maddison knock the ball to Praet via Barnes’ short pass.
In the 56th minute, however, Burnley answered back, as a corner went to Mee who was at the rear of a huddle of Burnley and Leicester players, and his shot across the face of goal met Schmeichel’s tame save.
The ball went up in the air and New Zealander Wood was first to the ball, tapping home into a net without a guard as Schmeichel was floored after the save.
In a game of relative calm, only Phil Bardsley and Mee were in the bad books of referee Anthony Taylor, who was lenient to Bardsley after he objected a free-kick he gave away.
He was not so lenient on Mee, however, who was booked for being judged to have pushed down Barnes who was through on goal in the 67th minute.
Pope was once again forced to demonstrate heroics as he dived to his left to keep out Vardy’s low penalty and followed up that with another save, with Papy Mendy’s shot almost poked home by Barnes who narrowly missed the ball.
Leicester were made to rue the miss when Burnley capitalised on a defensive mix-up involving Leicester’s centre-back pairing, as Charlie Taylor’s cross into the box was kicked into space by Evans and Caglar Soyuncu missed the ball, which went to Ashley Westwood.
The Burnley central midfielder, who made his 400th career appearance in Sean Dyche’s 300th game in charge of Burnley, swept home into the left-hand bottom corner of the goal to give Burnley the lead.
Leicester could muster nothing except Soyuncu’s wayward long shot near the end of normal time as Burnley held out for their first victory of the season after having conceded the first goal.
Leicester had 56% possession and 18 shots but failed to convert this good play into goalscoring chances and came out second-best.
It is an important win for Burnley and they move five points clear of the relegation zone.
Leicester, however, will inevitably see this as a missed opportunity, as Manchester City’s draw against Crystal Palace gave the Foxes the chance to draw level with them on 48 points and stretch their lead over Chelsea, who also lost this weekend, at St James’ Park, to nine points.
Following Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United, third-placed Leicester are 19 points adrift of runaway league leaders Liverpool, with any hopes of a title bid surely now all but crushed.