EPL: Chelsea beat Burnley to keep alive top four hopes

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London, April 20 (IANS) Chelsea kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the next football season’s UEFA Champions League after beating hosts Burnley 2-1 in an English Premier League (EPL) match.

Victor Moses on Thursday scored the winner in the 69th minute as Chelsea moved to within five points of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who have 68 points from 34 games. Liverpool are third with 70 points, reports Xinhua news agency.

Antonio Conte’s team went ahead in the 20th minute as Moses burst down the right and his cross went in off Kevin Long for an own goal.

Burnley levelled the score in the 64th minute thanks to Ashley Barnes, who deflected in Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s shot.

Chelsea restored their lead in five minutes through Moses. Emerson Palmeri’s cross found the Nigerian wing-back at the far post and he fired in.

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Burnley, who had their five-match winning streak snapped, remained at seventh, two points behind Arsenal and eight ahead of Leceister, who were held to a goalless draw by Southampton.

“Tonight I saw a great team spirit,” Chelsea coach Conte was quoted as saying by his club’s website. “It’s not simple to play against Burnley. If you give them a bit of space, they are ready to put these long balls in and be dangerous with the second ball.

“We forced them to play these long balls, but when they played them from their own half of the pitch, it’s less dangerous.

‘We showed great spirit. We didn’t show this spirit in the first half against Southampton. We were a disaster. But in the second half and today, we must be pleased. It’s a great pleasure to see my players with this commitment, desire and will to fight for the ball.”

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Conte decided to start both strikers Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata in tandem. Although neither scored in the 2-1 win – despite Morata having chances to do so, Conte was pleased with the pair’s effort.

“They did a great job. Giroud and Morata played a fantastic game and sacrificed themselves greatly without the ball. They put great pressure on the ball in every moment. We surprised Burnley with our two strikers who created a lot of difficulty for their central defenders,” he said.

“To see Giroud and Morata playing in this way, to see these good combinations and links between them, and then their desire to run and press without the ball, this is the right way to have satisfaction in the future.

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–IANS

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