Burnley under 21s beaten by Manchester City in semi-final
BURNLEY missed out on a place in the inaugural Under 21 Premier League Cup final, but gave a good account of themselves against their Premier League counterparts.
The Clarets twice came from behind to have a Manchester City side on edge, until Sinan Bytyqi popped up with his second of the night in the 75th minute to clinch it for Patrick Vieira’s side.
But Burnley’s development squad can be proud of their performance, with the strong centre half pairing of Alex Coleman and Tom Anderson limiting City to few clear-cut chances, while Steven Hewitt was a livewire throughou.
City were in search of an early goal at Leigh Sports Village, where European champions Bayern Munich had trained earlier in the day.
After putting six past Blackburn Rovers at the same venue in the league two weeks ago they might have fancied their chances of a similar scoreline against alternative East Lancashire opposition.
Seko Fofana shaved the outside of the left post when he squeezed his low shot through the Clarets’ defence in the eighth minute.
City were quickly back on the offensive and in front, as Bytyqi drove low across Danijel Nizic and into the bottom corner.
Hewitt, playing in the number 10 role off front man Jason Gilchrist, came close to an immediate equaliser, bending his shot narrowly wide of the far right post from just outside the area.
But Burnley, watched by first team manager Sean Dyche from the stands, were level midway through the half.
In the week that Cameron Dummigan celebrated signing his first professional contract, the right back stepped up to score the equaliser. The exciting Irishman controlled and cut inside to shoot with his left from outside the box, across keeper Ian Lawlor and into the bottom corner. A fine finish.
Fofana went close again in an attempt to restore City’s lead, but instead he brought a save from Nizic, low to the keeper’s left and tipped around the post.
The Clarets were holding their own, but trailed at the break after Mathias Bossaerts forced his way to the byeline and squared for Jordy Mayifuila to tap in.
Mayifuila, who put four past Rovers last week, went in search of a second early in the second half but stabbed wide from put an early second half chance wide from Bytyqi’s right wing cross.
But the Clarets were far from intimidated and got a second wind around the hour mark.
Gilchrist held the ball up with his back to goal to slip Dummigan through on the overlap and the right back forced the corner from which they conjured their second equaliser.
Rangy defender Anderson won a header and Gilchrist – who scored a hat-trick at Old Trafford last season – thumped in.
But a City restored their lead in the 75th minute when an unmarked Bytyqi got on the end of substitute Adam Drury’s cross from the right and side-footed in.
Bytyqi was denied a hat-trick six minutes later when he cut in from the left and crashed a shot against the woodwork.
Burnley never gave up on hopes of a third equaliser, but couldn’t find a way through.
BURNLEY: Danijel Nizic; Cameron Dummigan, Alex Coleman, Tom Anderson, Luke Conlan (Luke Daly 84); Micah Evans, Luke Gallagher, Nathan Lowe (Jamie Frost 69), Cameron Howieson; Jason Gilchrist, Steve Hewitt.
Subs not used: Callum Jakovlevs, Jack Errington, Ntumba Massanka.
CITY: Ian Lawlor; Mathias Bossearts (Adam Drury 61), Shay Facey, Ellis Plummer, Greg Leigh (Jose Tasende 46); George Glendon; Sinan Bytyqi, Seko Fofana, Olivier Ntcham, Devante Cole (Marcos Lopes 72); Jody Mayifuila.
Subs not used: Jason Denayer, Billy O’Brien.
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