Manchester - Ashley Barnes's dramatic 81st-minute equaliser earned struggling
Burnley a 2-2 draw at Manchester City on Sunday, preventing the
defending champions from closing on Premier League leaders Chelsea.
goals from David Silva and Fernandinho had apparently put Manuel
Pellegrini's side well in control as they attempted to close the gap
behind Chelsea to a solitary point.
But with influential City
midfielder Yaya Toure absent, presumably rested, goals from George Boyd
and Barnes earned Burnley an improbable draw and denied Pellegrini's
side a club-record 10th consecutive win.
The supposed gulf in
class between the sides was highlighted by the manner of City's opening
goal in the 23rd minute, as Silva finished clinically to register his
fourth goal in the last three games.
It came from a darting run
down the right by the energetic Jesus Navas, who reached the dead-ball
line and pulled the ball back for Silva.
The former Valencia player switched feet neatly, swivelled and sent an unstoppable finish past Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal.
Yet the goal followed a promising flurry of attacking activity from the visitors.
Trippier's cross into the box was just missed by Danny Ings, Dean
Marney shot straight at Joe Hart and Ings was guilty of a wasteful
22-yard attempt when there were better options available.
not difficult to see why Burnley had scored just 12 goals in their
previous 18 league games and the contest looked likely to follow the
form book despite City starting without an orthodox forward.
stand-in 'false nine' James Milner shot over from six yards, Martin
Demichelis had an effort blocked by Jason Shackell from similar distance
and Navas's angled drive rose over the bar before the opening goal.
again without the predatory Sergio Aguero in their side, City turned to
an unlikely source for their second goal in the 33rd minute.
visiting defence stood off the hosts on the edge of their own area,
allowing Samir Nasri to move the ball along to Fernandinho.
time and space, the Brazil midfielder switched the ball to his right
foot and deposited a magnificent shot in off the underside of the
crossbar from a step outside the 18-yard box.
With leaders Chelsea
having earlier drawn 1-1 at Southampton, this appeared a perfect
opportunity for City to close the gap and improve their goal difference.
But City were hugely disappointing, and Burnley much improved almost immediately from kick-off in the second half.
Zabaleta failed to tackle Ings and the forward's low, driven shot was
glanced into the goal by Boyd, despite replays suggesting the Scotland
international did so from an offside position.
Had Ings's first
touch not let him down moments later as he attempted to carry Barnes's
through ball towards goal, Burnley might have claimed an equaliser even
Instead, Heaton was required to keep his team in the
contest with a one-handed save at the foot of his right-hand post from
Unmoved, Shackell headed just over and Ings shot narrowly
wide for the visitors, prompting Pellegrini to bring on Stevan Jovetic
and Frank Lampard.
Neither move improved matters greatly and Scott
Arfield wasted a glorious chance to equalise after 78 minutes when his
shot was blocked by Demichelis from only six yards.
No matter for
Burnley. Within two minutes, Shackell's long free-kick into the City
area was poorly defended and the ball rebounded kindly for Barnes to
lash a deadly 12-yard shot into the top-left corner.