Boyd strike stuns Man City


Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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George Boyd struck a stunning second-half winner as Burnley enhanced their survival hopes by further ravaging Manchester City’s fading title quest with a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor.

Boyd scored with a brilliant low strike from the edge of the area after 61 minutes to settle a tight Barclays Premier League contest that had belatedly come to life after a drab first half.

City wanted a penalty in injury time when Pablo Zabaleta went down under a Ben Mee challenge but referee Andre Marriner gave a free-kick the other way.

The result leaves champions City still trailing Chelsea by five points at the top, but now having played two games more.

It will also increase the heat on manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side have fallen away badly since pulling level with Chelsea on New Year’s Day.

City’s hopes of rescuing something from their season may now come down to the sizeable task of overturning a 2-1 deficit against Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday.

But while there might be much soul-searching back at the Etihad Stadium, Burnley can surely look forward to the run-in with confidence.

Victory was only their second in 13 games and pulled them within a point of 17th-placed Sunderland.

City’s team selection had suggested they meant business, with captain Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho both back in the starting line-up after reports of a row between the pair at Liverpool a fortnight ago.

The game took time to come to life but Kieran Trippier, a former City trainee, caused his old club some problems with his deliveries from the right.

One cross whipped in caught Gael Clichy high on his body, towards the top of his arm, but Marriner gave the City defender the benefit of any doubt.

Edin Dzeko had City’s first serious opportunity but lashed a long-range shot well wide.

Dzeko was presented with a better chance after Fernandinho won the ball and played him in but goalkeeper Tom Heaton blocked and then gathered Sergio Aguero’s follow-up.

Joe Hart was called into action at the other end to claim a deflected Scott Arfield shot before Aguero smashed another effort into the side-netting.

But overall it was a lacklustre first half, and the crowd almost got more animated when a City fan proposed to his Burnley-supporting girlfriend on the pitch at half-time. She responded positively but the home fans were not so sure, chanting, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’.

The second half proved a much livelier affair with both sides showing greater urgency.

Aguero stretched the Burnley defence with a nice turn and run from halfway but his ball to a wide-open David Silva was delayed fractionally too long and the Spaniard was forced wide of goal.

Aguero stabbed an effort just wide himself when he met a Zabaleta ball from the right with a quick snap-shot.

Burnley upped their tempo in response and Boyd served warning of his prowess with a superb volleyed effort from 20 yards which flew just wide.

He went one better to give the Clarets the lead just after the hour.

Trippier was also involved, lofting in a free-kick which Kompany headed out towards the Scot. Boyd met it on the half-volley with a crisp left-foot shot which flew low across Hart and into the bottom corner.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini immediately tried to shake things up by sending on headline January signing Wilfried Bony for Dzeko. Another striker in Stevan Jovetic entered the fray soon after, although it was a surprise that Silva made way.

It proved to no avail and City could not penetrate the Clarets defence, who closed in on a famous victory. Aguero headed wide and substitute Frank Lampard had a free-kick blocked.

Zabaleta appealed for a spot-kick after a challenge by Mee, who had earlier been booked, in injury time. It looked a close call but it was not to be City’s day.

Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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