Burnley 0-3 Man City: Erling Haaland spoils Clarets' return to the Premier League as Anass Zaroury sees red
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Vincent Kompany’s men were more than a match for the reigning champions under the lights at Turf Moor, but Haaland’s first-half brace helped Pep Guardiola’s side to a 3-0 victory, with Rodri scoring the other.
Despite the heavy nature of the scoreline, there was plenty to be encouraged about for the Clarets, who performed well in the opening half and caused City plenty of problems in the final third.
They were, however, made to pay for leaving Haaland in too much space inside their box on two occasions, while Rodri slammed home the third after the hosts had failed to clear their lines from a free-kick.
The Clarets played the final seconds of the game with 10 men after substitute Anass Zaroury was sent off for a foul on Kyle Walker.
Kompany handed debuts to five of the club’s eight summer signings, with James Trafford starting in goal ahead of Arijanet Muric against his former side.
Dara O’Shea, Sander Berge, Luca Koleosho and Zeki Amdouni were also named in the starting XI after making the move to Turf Moor this summer.
Despite missing some of Burnley’s pre-season, Josh Cullen was fit enough to start in midfield and captained the side with Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill on the bench.
CJ Egan Riley (hamstring), Michael Obafemi (hamstring) and Darko Churlinov (health scare) were all absent.
Straight from kick-off it was clear Burnley had made a tactical tweak to what we’re normally accustomed to, with Kompany lining up his players in a back five – Vitinho and Connor Roberts the two wing-backs.
Burnley were given a rude awakening and a nightmare welcome to the Premier League when City took the lead after just four minutes.
Predictably it was Erling Haaland who struck it, slotting home from close range after Burnley had switched off from an early corner.
Kevin De Bruyne fancied himself a quick second, sending a dipping effort just over from all of 30 yards out.
Burnley responded well though and were denied a penalty in the seventh minute when Zeki Amdouni was floored inside the box by Manuel Akanji. But the referee remained unmoved and the decision wasn’t overturned by VAR.
The deadly pair of De Bruyne and Haaland linked up once again for City when the Belgian crossed for the striker, who sent an acrobatic effort over the bar when Bernardo Silva had been left free behind him.
Burnley were giving as good as they got, despite City dominating the vast majority of possession. But when the Clarets did drift into opposition territory they put some promising moves together.
We saw evidence of this in the 15th minute when debutant Luca Koleosho curled over following a string of one and two-touch passing in the final third.
Amdouni, who looked bright early on, then tested Ederson with a low drive after being teed up just inside the box, but Ederson was able to make the save.
City were dealt a big blow only a few minutes later when dangerman De Bruyne was forced off with an injury to be replaced by former Chelsea man Mateo Kovacic.
The hosts could easily have levelled matters just before the half-hour mark with two good chances.
The first almost presented itself on a plate for Amdouni when the ball deflected into his path, only for Rodri to recover and knick the ball off him.
Lyle Foster, meanwhile, curled a whisker wide of the far post after embarking on a mazy run down the left flank, before cutting inside and unleashing a dangerous shot.
Burnley’s pressing game was really beginning to become effective, forcing regular errors from Guardiola’s men in their own half of the pitch.
At the other end, Trafford rushed off his line quickly to thwart Phil Foden after the City man had marched past his marker with a clever flick of the ball.
There was nothing Trafford could do though in the 36th minute to deny Haaland a second when the Norwegian dispatched a ruthless finish into the top corner.
Burnley will, however, be disappointed the striker was left in so much space inside their box, but the finish was utterly spellbinding.
City’s second really knocked the stuffing out of both Burnley’s players and fans, disheartened to be trailing by two having played so well during the opening 45 minutes.
After a fairly quiet start to the second-half, Dara O’Shea had to be alert to make an important block to deny Haaland his hat-trick after the striker had gone in behind Burnley’s backline.
Rodri then tried his luck with an ambitious rising effort from 25 yards out, which Trafford confidently pushed over, before the goalkeeper denied the Spaniard for a second time from the resulting corner, getting down low to save his header.
The midfielder was City’s unlikely source of opportunities in the second half, with Rodri eyeing his side’s third midway through the half only to see his drive well blocked.
Just prior to that, Kompany made his first changes of the evening with Jacob Bruun Larsen, another debutant, and Anass Zaroury entering the fray.
Bigger and bigger gaps began to open up for City during the final 20 minutes as tiredness began to creep in. Foden almost put one on a plate for Haaland but his fizzed ball across the face of goal just eluded the striker.
A third did arrive with 15 minutes left on the clock when Rodri got in on the act, slamming home from close range after Burnley had failed to clear their lines from a free-kick.
City saw out the remainder of the game with relative ease before substitute Zaroury was sent off for a foul on Kyle Walker. Despite initially being booked for the challenge, the card was upgraded to a red following a VAR check.
Burnley: Trafford, Roberts, O’Shea, Beyer (Benson), Al-Dakhil, Vitinho, Berge (Brownhill), Cullen, Amdouni (Zaroury), Koleosho (Bruun Larsen), Foster (Redmond)
Subs not used: Muric, Ekdal, Cork, Gudmundsson
Man City: Ederson, Walker (McAtee), Ake (Laporte), Akanji, Lewis (Gvardiol), Rodri, Bernardo, Foden, De Bruyne (Kovacic), Alvarez, Haaland (Palmer)
Subs not used: Ortega, Gomez, Phillips, Grealish
Referee: Craig Pawson