English Premiership

Clichy, Aguero get 10-man City back on track

2017-01-02 19:35
Sergio Aguero (Getty Images)

Manchester - Manchester City overcame the first half dismissal of Fernandinho and another Claudio Bravo error to secure a nervy 2-1 Premier League victory over Burnley on Monday.

Fernandinho's third red card in six games will lead to a four-game suspension, but after City's worst first half to a league season in eight years manager Pep Guardiola will be relieved just to get the three points through goals from Gael Clichy and Sergio Aguero.

French full-back Clichy struck a rare goal on 58 minutes after a Bacary Sagna cross was headed to him on the corner of the area by the visitors' Michael Keane.

Clichy cut inside a half-hearted challenge from Scott Arfield before planting a low shot through the crowded box and into the bottom right-hand corner.

Four minutes later City took further control when Kevin De Bruyne's pass played Raheem Sterling into the area, thanks to a slip by defender Ben Mee.

Sterling fell as goalkeeper Tom Heaton blocked at his feet, but substitute Aguero was on hand to steer the ball into an empty net from a wide angle via the post and defender Matt Lowton.

Yet City still faced an anxious conclusion to the game after a mistake by goalkeeper Bravo from a corner saw Nicolas Otamendi clear off the line and Mee fire in the rebound off the underside of the crossbar.

The win allowed City to close to within two points of second-place Liverpool, who were held 2-2 at Sunderland, and to within seven of Chelsea, ahead of the leaders' trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

City had made a bright start before Fernandinho's rash challenge left referee Lee Mason with little choice but to show him a straight red card on 32 minutes.

The Brazilian flew into a challenge on Johann Berg Gudmundsson with both feet off the ground, which saw him become the sixth City player to be sent off in Guardiola's 30 games at the helm.

Instantly, Burnley had their best chance of the game, Ashley Barnes shooting well wide from a promising position on the edge of the area, and they enjoyed the majority of possession for the rest of the first half.

But Guardiola, who tore off his overcoat in frustration at Fernandinho's premature departure, should have seen his team in the lead by that point.

After dropping the high-profile trio of John Stones, Aguero and David Silva following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Liverpool, City started with pace and intent.

On six minutes Mee's poor pass was intercepted by Sterling and he played Kelechi Iheanacho clean through, only for the youngster to be denied by Heaton.

Yaya Toure worked the ricochet back to Sterling who was, again, denied by Heaton, who saved bravely at his feet.

Moments later Iheanacho got into a promising position in the Burnley area, but succeeded only in lifting his shot over the target.

After Arfield wasted a free-kick just outside the City area, Guardiola's team broke upfield, only for Sterling and Jesus Navas to squander what had appeared a promising break.

City pressed and, on 18 minutes, Heaton proved unbeatable again as he dived smartly to cover Toure's 18-yard shot, but Fernandinho's loss dramatically altered the pattern of the game.

Burnley, who have won just one away point on their league travels all season, must have fancied their chances of improving that statistic.

But Guardiola's response was to bring on Silva and Aguero, two of the mainstays of City's success in recent years, at the interval.

Aguero might have done better after Sterling's shot was blocked and the loose ball spun in his direction, but defender Stephen Ward reacted quickly to intercept.

The three goals quickly followed, in the space of 12 minutes, although chances were scarce for the remainder of the game.

Aguero and Burnley's Andre Gray both missed the target with half-chances, while Keane's injury-time shot bounced awkwardly off the ground and forced Bravo into a fingertip save.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Monday, 21 August 2017
Manchester City v Everton, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Saturday, 26 August 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City, Vitality Stadium 13:30
Crystal Palace v Swansea City, Selhurst Park 16:00
Newcastle United v West Ham United, St. James' Park 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Southampton, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Leicester City, Old Trafford 18:30
Sunday, 27 August 2017
Chelsea v Everton, Stamford Bridge 14:30
West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City, The Hawthorns 14:30
Liverpool v Arsenal, Anfield 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.