Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne scored in each half as Manchester City eased to a 2-0 victory over a spirited Burnley at the Etihad Stadium.
Premier League champions City had beaten Burnley 5-0 in each of their last four home matches against the Clarets but made hard work of this latest encounter.
Silva converted a close-range rebound to give City the lead on 12 minutes, but the floodgates did not open as they have done previously, and they needed De Bruyne’s third goal of the season 20 minutes from time to seal the three points which lifts them up to second in the table.
Things may have been different for Burnley had Maxwel Cornet and Josh Brownhill converted chances to equalise before De Bruyne’s strike, but despite failing to claim a first victory of the season, Sean Dyche’s side can take heart from the performance into the challenges ahead.
Man City: Steffen (6), Ake (6), Stones (6), Laporte (6), Cancelo (6), Rodri (6), De Bruyne (7), Mahrez (4), Bernardo Silva (8), Foden (6), Sterling (4).
Subs: Dias (5), Fernandinho (n/a), Palmer (n/a).
Burnley: Pope (7), Lowton (6), Tarkowski (7), Collins (6), Pieters (6), Cork (6), Westwood (6), Brownhill (6), McNeil (7), Cornet (7), Wood (5).
Subs: Gudmundsson (5), Barnes (6), Rodriguez (n/a).
Man of the Match: Bernardo Silva.
City ease past Burnley up to second
Manchester City needed just 12 minutes to break the deadlock. Phil Foden’s drive from the edge of the box proved too hot for Clarets’ goalkeeper Nick Pope to handle and Silva rifled in the rebound from all of three yards.
Given their recent history at the Etihad, Burnley would have been forgiven for fearing the floodgates would open but were indebted to Pope who prevented Joao Cancelo volleying in a quick-fire second from De Bruyne’s lofted diagonal on the quarter-hour mark.
- Zack Steffen, Nathan Ake, John Stones, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling all started as Man City made five changes from the 2-2 draw at Liverpool.
- Maxwel Cornet and Erik Pieters returned as Burnley made two changes from the 0-0 draw with Norwich.
Having regrouped after City’s opener, Burnley should have drawn themselves level on 22 minutes when Dwight McNeil released Cornet through on goal, but stand-in City goalkeeper Zack Steffen produced a crucial smothering save.
City were given another reminder of how slender their lead was when Burnley came within inches of equalising 10 minutes before half-time when the Clarets press forced a defensive error and presented Brownhill with sight of goal, but he was unable to register his first Premier League goal as his strike whistled agonisingly wide.
City upped the tempo after the break, laying siege to the Burley goal in the opening exchanges of the second half, but that second goal continued to evade them as Silva curled a shot over and Riyad Mahrez clipped the bar.
Ashley Barnes was introduced on 57 minutes and nearly had an instant impact as City persisted in playing out of the back, but the striker could only scuff a shot into the arms of Steffen with what was his first touch.
With Burnley unable to find a route back into the game, City put it beyond their reach on 70 minutes when De Bruyne lashed an emphatic second into the corner after his cross fell back into his path.
The Clarets felt Mahrez had fouled Ashley Westwood in the build-up, but the goal was allowed to stand, putting an end their hopes of claiming an unlikely point.
Manchester City head to Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday at 5.45pm before travelling to Brighton on Saturday Night Football at 5.30pm – live on Sky Sports Premier League. Burnley travel to Southampton on Saturday at 3pm.