Burnley 2 Leicester City 1: Flying start propels Clarets closer to Europe
Burnley scored twice in the opening nine minutes en route to a 2-1 victory over Leicester City that propels the Clarets significantly closer to a potential place in Europe next season.
These two sides came into Saturday's clash at Turf Moor separated by six points in the race for seventh, which will be enough for a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds if struggling Southampton do not upset the odds and prevail from an FA Cup semi-final line-up also comprising Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham.
And early goals from Chris Wood and Kevin Long stretched the Clarets' advantage over their eighth-placed opponents to nine points with five matches remaining.
Wood, who won the Championship with Leicester ahead of Burnley in 2013-14, netted his fifth goal in as many matches by scoring at the second attempt after Kasper Schmeichel's save landed back at his feet.
Three minutes later the hosts were celebrating again as Long powered Johann Gudmundsson's set-piece into the top-left corner for his maiden Premier League goal.
Jamie Vardy pulled one back to set up a nervy final 20 minutes but Burnley held on to secure five straight top-flight wins for the first time in 50 years, while a return to European competition - they haven't played at that level since 1966-67 - remains a genuine possibility.
All but one of the Clarets' last 13 league goals had come in the second half but they were quick out of the blocks here.
There was an element of fortune about the opener as Ashley Barnes played in Wood, who saw his initial effort saved by Schmeichel but the rebound fell kindly and the former Foxes forward took a touch before slotting home.
And before Leicester had been able to take stock the lead was doubled as Gudmundsson swung over a corner from the right and Long rose highest to nod home.
PICS: Celebrations in full swing after Kevin Long’s goal. 2-0 pic.twitter.com/pu7ExaU9fb
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Riyad Mahrez's deflected effort had a back-pedalling Nick Pope briefly worried as Leicester mustered a response, and the Burnley goalkeeper ought to have been given no chance when the Algerian sent a free header straight at him from Demarai Gray's cross in the 34th minute.
Vardy did likewise from Harry Maguire's floated delivery before, with the last action of the half, Mahrez's 30-yard free-kick flew inches wide with Pope motionless.
The recent England call-up did spring into action shortly after the hour, however, getting down smartly to his right to deny Vardy with a save that will have impressed watching national boss Gareth Southgate.
But Pope could do nothing about Vardy's finish in the 72nd minute, a thumping strike into the roof of the net after a precise throughball from substitute Kelechi Iheanacho.
It was not enough for Leicester, though, as Vardy scored in a losing effort for the eighth time this season - a Premier League record.
FULL-TIME Burnley 2-1 Leicester
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