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For the second successive time we were beaten by just two goals in a league game at the Etihad Stadium by Manchester City in a Premier League fixture but in our search for points, this was another defeat that leaves us seven points behind Luton Town who are now outside of the bottom three.

Some things never change there. We lost and the rain came down, this time before the game leaving Burnley fans arriving wet and then having to stand and wait outside the stadium in that rain to go through the most inefficient and time delaying searches.

Our tickets hadn’t arrived until two days before the game and it became obvious why. The tickets we had purchased were no longer part of the away section; we’d obviously sent some back and then started moving supporters from those seats. Despite that, and despite our club boasting that it would be another packed away end, it was far from that with empty seats aplenty in both tiers.

It’s not a game you go to with too much confidence, recent history has told us that, but this is where we picked up our first ever away point in the Premier League and I can still picture Kevin McDonald scoring that equaliser right in front of us.

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Ahead of kick off we had the light show. It made our such offerings look a bit like a Basil Dearing firework display (this was at the home game against Mansfield in November 1985). I doubt they do it every week but this was a tribute to the visiting manager who I believe once played for them.

With players such as Jordan Beyer and Charlie Taylor still unavailable, said manager Vincent Kompany made just one change from the team that had drawn against Luton with well again Sander Berge replacing Josh Cullen.

For City, Kevin de Bruyne was back in the starting line up for his first league start since he suffered his injury at Burnley in the opening game of the season. John Stones was back to in a team that included such as Rodri and Phil Foden but there was much attention on the bench with the inclusion of Erling Haaland, another coming back from injury. He was joined by such as Kyle Walker, Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva.

It took just over a quarter of an hour to take the lead but then two goals in six minutes, both scored by Julian Álvarez, ended this one as a contest. For the first, Matheus Nunes, having initially been blocked by Dara O’Shea, got the ball into the box for Álvarez to come in, totally unmarked, and head home from close range.

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The second left Pep Guardiola celebrating a set piece. They won a free kick but as everyone expected de Bruyne to play it towards the left hand post, he calmly played a low ball to the other side leaving Álvarez clear to fire past James Trafford. It was reminiscent of a goal they scored at the same end against us in the FA Cup in 2018.

Two goals down and only a quarter of the game gone, I think we could all be excused for thinking an avalanche of goals were on their way but that was it for the first half although we had some concerning moments and Trafford did make two good saves. At the other end, we had our moments and possibly one chance when Lyle Foster got in to the left of goal.

So, 2-0 at half time. I have to admit there was little confidence or enthusiasm from those fans I spoke to during the interval but one supporter with too much optimism was suggesting the next goal could be key.

It came just 25 seconds into the half and ended it as a contest with Rodri finishing well having been found by Foden.

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It really did end it as a contest. I didn’t think City had ever got out of second gear and I’m not sure they even reached that for the rest of the game. Both teams made changes and we introduced two Premier League debutants. David Datro Fofana was one of a triple change just before the hour and a few minutes from the end, Han-Noah Massengo came on for his second appearance, the other having come in the League Cup at Salford.

We did have one big chance during that second half. Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson superbly played in Zeki Amdouni. He could have laid the ball across to Wilson Odobert but went for the shot himself and blazed over the bar.

City, predictably, brought on Haaland and they seemed to spend the rest of the time trying to set him up with a goal. They failed, but there was to be one more goal.

All credit to Fofana who set it up. He received the ball from O’Shea on the right. A beautiful turn of pace got him past Joško Gvardiol and his cross was bundled home by Ameen Al-Dakhil from two or three yards out. It was a first Burnley goal for Al-Dakhil, a first Burnley goal at the Etihad since Ashley Barnes scored in the FA Cup in 2018 and a first in the league since January 2017 when Ben Mee scored. Of all the seven league goals we’ve scored there, this is the only one, other than McDonald’s in 2009, to have been scored right in front of the Burnley fans.

There weren’t many of us left by then but at the final whistle Connor Roberts and Anass Zaroury, two of the substitutes, were clearly saying their goodbyes.

Another Etihad loss then but no surprise. Our seasons will never be determined by the results from these games. Now it’s Fulham and we have to make this one count.

The teams were;

Manchester City: Ederson, Rico Lewis, John Stones, Nathan Aké, Joško Gvardiol, Rodri (Mateo Kovacić 87), Matheus Nunes, Phil Foden (Jack Grealish 76), Kevin de Bruyne (Erling Haaland 71), Jérémy Doku, Julian Álvarez (Claudio Gómez 87). Subs not used: Stefan Ortega, Kyle Walker, Rúben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Oscar Bobb.
Yellow Cards: Jérémy Doku, Ederson.

Burnley: James Trafford, Vitinho, Dara O’Shea, Hjalmar Ekdal (Han-Noah Massengo 86), Ameen Al-Dakhil, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Aaron Ramsey 59), Sander Berge, Josh Brownhill, Wilson Odobert (Anass Zaroury 76), Zeki Amdouni (Connor Roberts 59), Lyle Foster (David Datro Fofana 59). Subs not used: Arijanet Muric, Jack Cork, Josh Cullen, Jacob Bruun Larsen.
Yellow Cards: Hjalmar Ekdal, Connor Roberts.

Referee: Sam Barrott (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: to be confirmed.

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