EPL

Ten-man Burnley twice come from behind to hold Chelsea despite Cole Palmer brace

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw by Burnley at Stamford Bridge as Vincent Kompany’s side twice came from behind with 10 men to frustrate the hosts.

At five league games it became Chelsea’s longest unbeaten run in the league in almost 18 months, but there was little good cheer directed towards Mauricio Pochettino and his players by fans at the final whistle, after they saw Dara O’Shea snatch a point for Burnley late on.

Cole Palmer had earlier scored twice, the first a penalty after defender Lorenz Assignon had been dismissed for fouling Mykhailo Mudryk, then making it 2-1 after being set up by a delightful flick from the under-fire Raheem Sterling.

In between, Josh Cullen volleyed Burnley level against the run of play early in the second half, as their top-flight survival bid received an unlikely boost.

The first opportunity had been Burnley’s. A long ball up from halfway drifted over the head of Benoit Badiashile and was lashed across goal and wide by Jacob Bruun Larsen.

Next to go close was Enzo Fernandez. His shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection towards the top corner, before being brilliantly turned onto the crossbar and behind by Arijanet Muric.

It was a bright Chelsea opening, Palmer and Conor Gallagher readily a threat when linking up whilst Mudryk, fresh from scoring the goal that sent Ukraine to Euro 2024, showed speed and tricky footwork rampaging down the left.

Yet Burnley were not blunt. Wilson Odobert drew a fine, flying save from goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic, finding space to fire from range after stepping inside Malo Gusto, who allowed him past too easily.

Nicolas Jackson too might have done better when he raced on to Palmer’s incisive through-ball, danced round two defenders and aimed for the corner, again though Muric saved.

Axel Disasi thought he had given Chelsea the lead midway through the first half, turning the ball in at the far post from Mudryk’s cross, only for VAR to rule it had gone in off the defender’s arm.

Mudryk fired straight at Muric after being teed up by Jackson jinking in off the right, as Chelsea’s shot count rose to 12 inside the opening 35 minutes.

The sense that Burnley were clinging on grew, and shortly before half-time their task was made exponentially harder.

Assignon initially looked to have Mudryk under control as the pair raced to reach the ball in the left channel. Mudryk stepped across him, and Assignon heaved him away and to the ground with a raised arm at neck height.

In the chaos that followed, the defender was shown a second yellow card, the fulminating Kompany too saw red, leaving Burnley a man down and with their manager banished from the touchline. With his impudent penalty, Palmer added insult to injury to give Chelsea the lead.

It was richly deserved, and so Burnley’s equaliser immediately after the break stunned the home crowd. Cullen played a one-two with Josh Brownhill 25 yards out, receiving it back and crashing an instinctive volley beyond Petrovic with the second half barely two minutes old.

The visitors would have been ahead had Petrovic not saved brilliantly one-handed from Odobert’s close-range header, then at the other end Muric was again Burnley’s saviour, beating away Jackson’s low first-time drive.

Home fans were contemplating another frustrating result when Sterling, on for Moises Caicedo, diverted the ball beautifully into the feet of Palmer with a devilish flick, and Chelsea’s top scorer crashed it into the bottom corner to restore the lead.

It lasted under three minutes. At once Burnley were up the other end winning a corner, and from it nobody in blue followed O’Shea as he ran across four defenders and headed the ball through Petrovic’s fumbled grasp to level.

Sterling should have won it when he burst onto Palmer’s far-post cross but inexplicably nodded wide, before Jay Rodriguez headed against the crossbar in the 88th minute as Burnley threatened the improbable.

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    Daniel Farke admitted the killer instinct of Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics was lacking from his Leeds side after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat dealt a blow to their automatic promotion hopes.

    Leeds dominated the Championship encounter at Elland Road but could not turn possession into goals.

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    He said: “It’s up to me if we don’t score – to find solutions. I have to work with them so that in the next game we create more chances.

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    Szmodics dealt the killer blow with a cool finish eight minutes from time as the visitors went route one.

    Sam Gallagher headed on a long ball from Aynsley Pears before Tyrhys Dolan turned and fed Szmodics and he did the rest with a composed finish past Illan Meslier.

    The Leeds goalkeeper had saved from Szmodics with Blackburn’s only effort of the first period, while Pears had saved from Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto and Connor Roberts as the home side failed to make their dominance pay.

    Blackburn head coach John Eustace was full of praise for his side.

    He said: “I was very proud of the effort the boys have given me since I came in, it has been outstanding.

    “To come here and play like we did was great. We had a game plan without the ball. I am delighted with the effort and very proud of them.”

    Blackburn bounced back from a 5-0 defeat at Bristol City in midweek and that resilience was what pleased Eustace the most.

    He added: “Wednesday was a bit of a blip. That certainly wasn’t a team that I have been a part of. We have been very difficult to beat.

    “It’s very important that we keep working hard, sticking together. We have three games left and we still need points.”

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  • Sammie Szmodics nets late Blackburn winner as Leeds suffer blow in promotion bid Sammie Szmodics nets late Blackburn winner as Leeds suffer blow in promotion bid

    Sammie Szmodics dealt a crushing blow to Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes as Blackburn claimed a late 1-0 Championship win at Elland Road.

    Defeat stopped the home side going top of the table as Rovers defended for long periods of the game.

    Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto and Connor Roberts all tested Blackburn goalkeeper Aynsley Pears in a dominant first half for Leeds.

    The home side also had chances after the break but were punished by Szmodics with eight minutes to go.

    Leeds were on the front foot from the off as Joel Piroe’s shot was deflected for a corner.

    Hayden Carter tripped Summerville and his free-kick from a narrow angle was saved by Pears, who also punched away the follow-up shot from Gnonto from the edge of the area.

    The game was being played mostly in Blackburn’s half and Leeds forced two corners in succession with 20 minutes gone – but they were unable to break the deadlock.

    Ethan Ampadu headed a Roberts free-kick off target as Leeds kept up the pressure with nearly half-an-hour on the clock.

    Ilia Gruev missed the best chance so far but his near-post shot from Gnonto’s low ball following a corner did not trouble Pears.

    Roberts was the next to test the Rovers stopper with a curling shot from outside the area which he saved high to his left at the expense of a corner.

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    Gruev fired at Pears with the first effort of the second half after Joe Rodon’s vital interception and surging run.

    Gnonto shot wide across the face of goal but with nearly an hour gone, Leeds were still looking for the opening goal.

    Meslier put his side under pressure when his throw went to a Blackburn player but luckily for him when the ball was passed to Joe Rankin-Costello, he fired wide.

    Blackburn sensed a chance and Szmodics crossed low from the right but he could not find a team-mate with the Leeds goal gaping, with Roberts stretching to stop Tyrhys Dolan getting a touch.

    Georginio Rutter’s shot into a crowded area saw Pears dive low to his left then claim the loose ball.

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    Sam Gallagher nodded on Pears’ kick, Dolan turned and released his team-mate and Szmodics finished coolly past Meslier.

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