Salford City 0-4 Burnley: Clarets cruise into last 16 of Carabao Cup thanks to first-time goalscorers
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Sander Berge, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Dara O’Shea, all first-time scorers, fired in three goals inside the first 27 minutes as Vincent Kompany’s men enjoyed a brief respite from league action.
Wilson Odobert, also scoring his first Burnley goal, added a late fourth to add further gloss to a good night’s work, with all four goals being created by the superb Anass Zaroury.
The gulf in class was evident from the off and on another day the Clarets could easily have ran in more goals in their first ever meeting against the Ammies.
Kompany opted to make all 11 changes to the side that lost narrowly to Manchester United in the league on Saturday.
As expected, Arijanet Muric deputised for James Trafford in goal, just as he did against Nottingham Forest in the last round, while 18-year-old Wilson Odobert was handed his first Clarets start.
The likes of Vitinho, Manuel Benson, Anass Zaroury, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Jay Rodriguez were all handed starts.
Jack Cork, meanwhile, started in the back four as a centre-back alongside Dara O’Shea.
Lyle Foster missed out through suspension, serving the second game of his three-match ban, while Hjalmar Ekdal (knee), Darko Churlinov (health scare) and Michael Obafemi (hamstring) all remain sidelined.
As for Salford, they made four changes to the side that lost 3-2 to Harrogate Town on Saturday, a result that left them fourth bottom of League Two following a disappointing start to the season for Neil Wood’s side.
Burnley, as you might expect, dominated possession from the off, but they initially struggled to create any openings against a stubborn Salford side.
That changed in the 12th minute though when Sander Berge headed home his first Clarets goal to give Kompany’s men the lead, leaping highest to meet Anass Zaroury’s corner.
The visitors were given an injury scare in the wake of the opener after Manuel Benson fell awkwardly as he attempted to bring down a high ball. Immediately he smacked the floor in pain and signalled to the bench he would have to come off.
Mike Tresor had been stripped and readied to replace him, but thankfully Benson was able to run it off and the knock wasn’t anywhere near as serious as first feared.
The opening goal clearly dispirited the hosts, as one quickly became two - with the second also assisted by Zaroury.
It was a well-worked goal from Burnley’s perspective too, Zaroury playing Jacob Bruun Larsen in who lobbed the onrushing goalkeeper before seeing the ball nestle in the back of the net.
Dara O’Shea even got himself in on the act, tapping home from virtually on the goalline after Cairns had made a meal of Zaroury’s low free-kick.
That prompted the travelling Burnley fans to taunt Salford co-owner Gary Neville with a chant of “Gary, what’s the score?”, as the former Manchester United man watched on from the stands alongside Roy Keane.
We also saw the eventual withdrawal of Benson, who couldn’t continue despite his best efforts, the winger grimacing and shaking his head as he was replaced by Tresor.
The Belgian thought he had added a fourth barely four minutes after coming on, tapping home from eight yards out, but Jay Rodriguez was adjudged to be standing in an offside position before he pulled the ball back into Tresor’s path.
Having been involved in all three goals, Zaroury almost added his name to the scoresheet when he produced a piledriver on his left foot that Cairns tipped over with the faintest of touches from a fingertip.
The chances continued to come, however, Odobert skying a gilt-edged chance at the back post after being teed up by a lovely cross in from Bruun Larsen.
Salford enjoyed a rare attack at the start of the second-half when Conor McAleny chased a long ball in behind, but two Burnley defenders got back before he could get a shot off at Muric.
The second-half was more of a tame affair, but the Clarets did maintain an attacking threat, Zaroury coming close with a low, drilled effort which was diverted inches wide of the upright.
Odobert had also tested the goalkeeper with a powerful effort that Cairns kept out with his legs, Zaroury yet again the creator.
The game otherwise fizzled out, with Burnley happy to keep hold of the ball as the game largely resembled a training match.
With the damage done inside the first half an hour, the Clarets had the luxury of making Salford do all the running and preserving their energy for more significant games ahead.
A fourth did eventually arrive though four minutes from time when Odobert blazed high into the roof of the net having been set up by, you guessed it, Zaroury.
That proved to be all she wrote as the visitors saw out the remainder of the game without barely breaking sweat, boosting their confidence ahead of a crucial trip to Newcastle at the weekend.
Salford: Cairns, Mariappa, Tilt, Dackers (Pedro), Olopade (Henderson), Watt (Humbles), Watson, Lund, Mallan, McAleny (Nmai), Berkoe
Subs not used: Wright, Collins, Da Costa, Fankwe, Smith
Burnley: Muric, Vitinho (Roberts), O’Shea, Cork, Delcroix, Berge, Odobert (Ramsey), Benson (Tresor), Zaroury, Bruun Larsen (Massengo), Rodriguez (Al-Dakhil)
Subs not used: Trafford, Taylor, Cullen, Koleosho
Referee: Anthony Backhouse