Burnley 3 – 0 Birm’ham
Burnley restored their three-point lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship table as they saw off Birmingham 3-0.
First-half goals from Anass Zaroury and Connor Roberts proved more than enough for the Clarets to secure victory at Turf Moor on Tuesday night, while substitute Nathan Tella added a late third in stoppage time.
More importantly than their advantage over Sheffield United, Vincent Kompany’s side now have an 11-point gap between themselves and Blackburn in third. An immediate return to the Premier League is starting to look an inevitable prospect.
Birmingham, meanwhile, are left in 15th. But such is the nature of this season’s Championship that there are only three points between themselves and the play-off places.
Burnley strike early then cruise to comfortable win
It took just 48 seconds for the opener to come, as a brilliant counter led to Roberts teeing up Zaroury – who celebrated his return from the World Cup with Morocco by slamming the ball first time by John Ruddy.
Roberts then turned from creator to scorer as he doubled the lead on 44 minutes. Playing a one-two into the box with Josh Brownhill, before controlling with his right and finishing low into the bottom corner with his left.
And late in stoppage-time substitute Tella put the icing on the cake as he raced through on goal before slipping the ball past Ruddy in front of the jubilant home fans.
What the managers said…
Burnley’s Vincent Kompany: “It was solid. I was nervous because I knew this game could become really tough. It wasn’t easy at any point in the game. We did really well on the restarts, defending throw-ins, free-kicks, second balls. We knew if we did that well we’d give ourselves a chance.
“[Zaroury] did really well, and it’s also in combination with his workrate off the ball. He gives you both sides. But you could see he was a little bit tired and he was still building up his fitness again. It was good to get him back involved with us.”
Birmingham’s John Eustace: “The manner we conceded the goals was really poor. The first goal knocked the stuffing out of us, then to concede with a minute to go until half-time is poor game management from us. We weren’t great in the first half but we were still in the game, so to go in two down was really disappointing.
“In the second half our shape was okay. We didn’t cause them any problems, but they didn’t cause us any. We’ve got to respect who we’re playing against. They’re the best team in the league with the best squad. We’ve got an opportunity to make up for it in three days.”
Player of the Match – Manuel Benson