Muric's 'horror show' costs Burnley in draw with Brighton

An astonishing Aro Muric mistake in the Burnley goal cost the Clarets a precious victory in their bid for Premier League survival, with Brighton escaping from Turf Moor with a 1-1 draw.

Burnley were leading 1-0 going into the latter stages of the game through Josh Brownhill’s scrappy opener, with the substitute closing down Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen’s clearance, a scoreline which could have moved Vincent Kompany’s side within four points of safety.

But Muric allowed Sander Berge’s simple back-pass to roll under his foot and into the net in a horror moment for the goalkeeper – just a week after his mistake consigned Burnley to a 1-0 loss at relegation rivals Everton.

Reacting to the incident live on Soccer Saturday, Kris Boyd said: “Wow. If you thought the first goal was bad, wait until you look at this.

Aro Muric made a horrendous error with just minutes to go
Aro Muric made a horrendous error with just minutes to go

Muric let a simple backpass slip under his foot
Muric let a simple backpass slip under his foot

“Brighton don’t even put any pressure on and Sander Berge rolls it back to him and the goalkeeper looks to put his foot on top of it and it’s straight in the back of the net.”

“It’s an absolute horror show,” added Soccer Saturday presenter Simon Thomas.

That moment added further frustration to Burnley, who missed two first-half sitters through Jacob Bruun Larsen and David Datro Fofana.

Josh Brownhill is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring Burnley's opening goal against Brighton
Josh Brownhill is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring Burnley’s opening goal against Brighton

The result means Burnley remain six points from safety with five games to go, while Brighton stay in 10th place in their fight for a European place next season.

Asked about the Muric incident after the game, Burnley assistant manager Craig Bellamy said: “It’s the way we play, it happens. It’s not Aro’s fault. It’s our fault.

“It’s how we play, it’s how we expect the goalkeeper to play. So we take full responsibility for that. It’s nothing to do with Aro.”

Player ratings:

Burnley: Muric (4); Vitinho (5), Ekdal (6), Esteve (7), Assignon (7); Foster (6), Cullen (6), Berge (5), Odobert (7); Bruun Larsen (5), Fofana (5)

Subs: Taylor (6), Rodriguez (5), Brownhill (7), Tresor (n/a)

Brighton: Verbruggen (5); Veltman (6), Dunk (6), Van Hecke (7), Estupinan (n/a); Baleba (5), Gross (6), Moder (6); Adingra (7), Welbeck (6), Joao Pedro (5)

Subs: Julio (6), Buonanotte (6), Fati (6), Lallana (6), O’Mahony (n/a)

Player of the Match: Wilson Odobert (Burnley)

How Burnley threw it away

Burnley – who had Kompany watching from the stands due to a touchline ban – began the first half quickly and had an early penalty call waved away by referee Simon Hooper and VAR, as Wilson Odobert went down under Pervis Estupinan’s challenge in the box.

Team news:

  • Burnley made two changes from last week’s defeat at Everton. Vitinho replaced Charlie Taylor at full-back while Hjalmar Ekdal started over the suspended Dara O’Shea.
  • Brighton also made two switches from the side beaten by Arsenal last weekend. Joel Veltman came in for the injured Tariq Lamptey, while Joao Pedro started over Julio Enciso.

That was virtually Estupinan’s last action as he limped off with what looked like an Achilles problem – as Burnley turned the screw.

They should have taken the lead as Odobert’s cross with his left foot fell to Bruun Larsen at the back post but he somehow turned the shot wide of Verbruggen’s near post.

Josh Cullen reacts after missing a chance to score against Brighton
Josh Cullen reacts after missing a chance to score against Brighton

Brighton had some chances as Simon Adingra, Carlos Baleba and Jacob Moder all tested Muric from distance.

But it was Burnley who then had the best chance of the half in stoppage time as Odobert’s cross was just begging to be touched home by Fofana, but he could not divert it into an open goal from a few yards out.

Burnley continued to pressure for an opener after the break as Berge and Fofana both fired over – while at the other end, Pascal Gross had one deflected shot fall wide, then another tipped over the bar by Muric.

Substitute Jay Rodriguez then fired straight at Verbruggen in a good opportunity – but it was another Burnley replacement in Brownhill who found the opener.

Baleba’s back-pass to Verbruggen was short and that allowed Brownhill to close the Brighton goalkeeper down. The Dutchman could only blast a clearance into the midfielder, who saw the ball trickle into the net.

And if you thought that goal was scrappy, just imagine Kompany’s reaction at seeing Muric allow Berge’s back-pass to roll under his foot and into the net. A gift for the Seagulls.

Joao Pedro celebrates Muric's moment of misfortune
Joao Pedro celebrates Muric’s moment of misfortune

Burnley tried to gain some momentum back but it had gone in that moment. Muric, meanwhile, was shaky at saving Ansu Fati’s long-range shot, before denying Facundo Buonanotte from close range in a moment of redemption.

He might be remembered, however, as the player who consigned his team to relegation.

Bellamy: Missed chances most disappointing part of game

Burnley assistant manager Craig Bellamy to Sky Sports:

“It was a good game. We played really well, especially in the first half against an outstanding team. They’re managed by a brilliant manager and have outstanding players. But we’ve been paying really well, in the first half especially.

“The penalty? I’m not too sure on. I thought he got contact on the ball as well. He stepped across him but the trailing leg got the ball. So me personally. I have no complaints on that.

“The big chances? Jacob missed a big one. Those chances, moments against a team with the quality of Brighton, you really have to make them count. That was probably the most disappointing part of today. But apart from that, it was a really good performance.

“It [Burnley’s goal] was perfect from us. It was a bit of the rub of the green that we thought we deserved from the game.”

De Zerbi: Brighton are in a tough moment

Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi to Sky Sports:

“I think it’s a fair result. We didn’t deserve to win. And in the same time, we didn’t deserve to lose the game. The first 20 minutes of the game, we suffered. But after that, we played well.

“We didn’t play one of the best games in my time, but we are spending a lot of tough moments where we have problems to score. We have a lot of injuries for key players, and it’s a tough moment.

“But we are trying to give our best, I don’t know if it’s enough to win the game. But we are playing for what we can do in this moment.

“I don’t know what the injury is for Pervis. I am sorry for him and I hope he can recover because we need him in this moment without Tariq Lamptey and James Milner. I hope he can play next Thursday against Man City.

“The goal we conceded, it was a mistake from Carlos Baleba, the pass was too short. But the position of Bart Verburggen was too deep. But we have to accept Baleba is 19 but is not ready yet to play. He’s playing very well but he’s very young. But the policy if the club is that. And we have to accept it, but accept it with pride. Because Baleba will become a very good player.”

Analysis: Muric mistake sums up Burnley’s failings

Burnley goalkeeper Ari Muric looks dejected after conceding a calamitous own goal against Brighton
Muric looks dejected

Before Burnley’s game with Brighton, assistant manager Craig Bellamy vowed his side will continue their way of playing and will not change their methods in the face of relegation. Come full-time, he may be ruing those words.

Burnley, with their possession-based style of play despite having an inferior-quality playing squad compared to most, have been too nice this season in terms of their lack of ruthlessness and easiness to play against.

But then there was hope. Josh Brownhill’s opener against Brighton briefly put them four points away from safety with a big game away at Sheffield United to come next week. Survival was still improbable but the great escape was very much on.

Then came Muric’s mistake, a costly lack of concentration from a safe backpass and that hope was gone.

While it was a costly, individual error, Burnley’s way of playing was to blame – Muric made 94 touches against Brighton, the most by a Premier League goalkeeper in the last eight seasons.

Yes, Muric should do a lot better in the moment, but trying to play out the back with 10 minutes to go in a must-win game is part of the process at Turf Moor – when it shouldn’t.

This lack of streetwise attitude is why Burnley are likely to be in the Championship next season.
Sam Blitz

What’s next?

Thursday 25th April 7:30pm

Kick off 8:00pm

Burnley travel to relegation rivals Sheffield United on Saturday April 20. Kick-off 3pm

Brighton return to the Amex Stadium where they host title-chasing Manchester City on Thursday April 25, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 8pm.

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