EPL

Aro Muric mistake denies Burnley crucial victory over Brighton

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

A dreadful mistake from goalkeeper Aro Muric cost Burnley dear in a 1-1 Premier League draw with Brighton that could prove decisive in the relegation battle.

Moments after Josh Brownhill had capitalised on a poor back pass from Carlos Baleba to put the Clarets on course for a victory that would have left them four points from safety, Muric let a routine pass from Sander Berge slip under his foot and dribble into the net, leaving the gap at six.

In a season in which Vincent Kompany’s men have still only won two home league games, it was an awful way to squander two points and the confidence victory would have given Burnley with only five games left to play.

Kompany, serving a touchline ban, had already seen his side waste glorious chances to go ahead, with both Jacob Bruun Larsen and David Fofana guilty of poor misses, although the same could also be said of a Brighton side who had 20 attempts at goal, but needed an own goal to avoid defeat.

Burnley wanted a penalty seven minutes in when Wilson Odobert, having been slipped in by Lyle Foster, was left in a heap by Pervis Estupinan, but referee Simon Hooper was entirely unmoved, deeming he had taken the ball before the man.

It was Estupinan’s only involvement of real note before the Ecuadorian was forced off after only 13 minutes, replaced by Igor Julio, to add to Brighton’s already considerable injury problems.

All the early attacking intent was with Burnley and they should have led in the 17th minute when Odobert’s curling cross seemed to put the ball on a plate for Bruun Larsen, but the Dane somehow put it wide when he had to score.

Brighton had barely threatened, but they almost benefited from some chaotic Burnley defending in the 21st minute after Simon Adingra was allowed to break into the box, with Bruun Larsen over-hitting a back pass which struck Muric before bouncing to safety.

Brighton were growing in confidence, with Adingra and Baleba both testing Muric and Joao Pedro heading wide before Jakub Moder’s curling free-kick in the 41st minute had the Kosovo goalkeeper stretching to push the ball around a post.

But the half ended with Burnley squandering another outstanding chance, with Fofana somehow failing to get a toe to Odobert’s cross with the goal gaping.

Burnley replaced Vitinho with Charlie Taylor at the break and had another superb chance and another poor miss in the 52nd minute as a nice move ended with Fofana heading wide from Lorenz Assignon’s cross.

But Brighton were taking the ascendancy. Adingra should have done better with Moder’s low cross, unable to get his effort on target, and Pascal Gross saw a shot deflected wide after Burnley had to scramble to cut off Pedro.

Just before the hour, a lazy pass from Berge on the edge of the box gifted the ball to Gross, who saw his shot tipped over the bar by Muric before Pedro headed wide from the resulting corner.

Burnley thought they were on to a winner when Brownhill, just on for the injured Hjalmar Ekdal, struck in the 74th minute.

Baleba struggled to deal with a high bouncing ball and did not get enough power on his back pass, with Brownhill charging after it to punish the mistake.

But five minutes later Turf Moor’s celebrations were cut short by a moment that will give Muric sleepless nights.

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