Vincent Kompany’s Burnley clinched the Sky Bet Championship title on Tuesday night with a 1-0 win at rivals Blackburn Rovers.
Burnley were far from the best of their season in a closely contested East Lancashire derby but showed why they are champions with a dogged determination to keep Blackburn out and a moment of magic midway through the second half thanks to Manuel Benson’s lavish curling shot.
Benson’s 12th goal of the season – Burnley’s only shot on target – was a league-winning goal and to do so at the home of their fiercest rivals represents a perfect season for the Clarets, who could still top the 100-point mark.
Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side put in another spirited performance, but it was painfully obvious that his guests possessed the firepower they lacked after finding themselves in many promising positions but failing to make a significant contribution.
Rovers remain out of the play-offs on goal difference after their winless run extended to seven games.
A broken metatarsal ruled out Tyler Morton for the season so Rovers had to reshuffle, with Ben Brereton Diaz and Ryan Hedges recalled. Burnley, meanwhile, have opted to start with a different centre-back pairing in Charlie Taylor and Ameen Al-Dakhil.
Al-Dakhil sent a header wide but Burnley offered no more as Blackburn canceled out their opponents.
Tyrhys Dolan saw a header saved midway through the half and Joe Rankin-Costello had a better chance shortly after, but headed wide from close range.
Blackburn fans were encouraged by their team’s courage to push the Clarets high up the pitch and Dominic Hyam saw a shot saved by Arijanet Muric late in the first half.
It seemed the pressure was building and only a stunning 61st minute from Al-Dakhil prevented Brereton Diaz from pulling the trigger inside the box after he landed the ball with a wonderful first touch.
However, the Clarets showed why they’re going up with their only turn of the game in the 66th minute.
It’s one Benson perfected over the course of the season as he went down to right before cutting to his left and shooting an unstoppable shot into the left corner past Aynsley Pears’ desperate dive.
Benson tried to repeat the trick with 11 minutes left, but this time he got it all wrong and squeezed his shot over the bar.
The gaps opened for the visitors as Blackburn pushed for an equalizer and Benson nearly scored a spectacular second in added time as he chased a loose ball down the left with Pears recovering from a Rovers corner, but his shot clipped the crossbar.
It didn’t matter though and the away celebrations were jubilant.
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