Early goals for Chris Wood and Kevin Long gave Burnley a valuable victory over Europa League qualification contenders Leicester City. It means that seven points from five games and anyone other than Southampton lifting the FA Cup will guarantee European football for Sean Dyche's side next season.
Lighting start from the form side
Burnley broke the deadlock as early as the sixth minute with Wood netting against his former club. The New Zealand international has formed a lethal partnership with Ashley Barnes and the latter slid through his strike partner. Wood was initially thwarted by Kasper Schmeichel before tucking away the rebound, taking his tally to five goals in the last four games.
Within three minutes the hosts doubled their advantage. A debatable corner was awarded to Burnley and the returning Johann Berg Gudmundsson delivered a delightful cross with Leicester's defence all at sea. The Icelander had enjoyed a great spell of form over Winter before being sidelined with injury but picked up where he left with a pinpoint corner onto the head of an unmarked Kevin Long who encouraged the Turf Moor faithful to continue dreaming of Thursday nights in Europe.
When Leicester eventually settled into the contest midway through the first half they began to show some promise. Nick Pope pulled off an excellent save from Riyad Mahrez' deflected effort in front of the watching Gareth Southgate. Jamie Vardy then headed a golden opportunity wide after being picked out by Ben Chilwell.
Both of Leicester's star players then missed even better chances with a sense of deja-vu. Pope continued to add to his stock and the possibility of World Cup selection when he produced a wonderful low stop to keep out Mahrez again. Vardy then headed straight at Pope with a weak header from Harry Maguire's cross before Mahrez struck a free-kick wide seconds before the break.
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Burnley hold firm despite Vardy consolation
Berg Gudmundsson threatened straight after the interval with a driven effort that flew just over the crossbar. The Clarets looked very comfortable for the opening 15 minutes before the visitors began to exert some pressure again.
Better contact from Vardy would have pulled a goal back but a slight mishit opened the door for Pope to spring across and turn the England striker's effort away. At the other end, Burnley felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Aaron Lennon was bundled over by substitute Kelechi Iheanacho but the protests were waved away. The Clarets are the only side not to have been awarded a Premier League penalty this season.
Iheanacho then made a much more positive impact in the Burnley half of the pitch. The striker formulated a clever pass into the path of Vardy and Leicester's top goalscorer finally made a solid contact to pull a goal back for the visitors, scoring in his fourth consecutive top-flight game.
The Foxes continued to hunt a point and looked completely rejuvenated. However, their increased tempo was not rewarded with any more sighters of goal as the seconds started to tick away. Schmeichel was unable to complete the game following a strong challenge by Barnes, whilst the home defence held firm and pick up their most valuable three points of the season.