Burnley 1 Sheffield United 1 - Blades lose out in penalty shoot-out
McBurnie’s saved penalty kick was all that separated the sides after a 1-1 draw.
The Blades are out of the League Cup at the first hurdle, but their outfield signings showed their worth to a manager looking to up the competition in his squad this season.
The match was overshadowed, though, by Robinson’s challenge on Johan Berg Gudmonsson, which ended the winger’s evening in horrible fashion. Robinson’s follow-through, planting his studs high on the Gudmundsson’s legs. Paul Tierney deemed it careless, not reckless and kept his cards in his pockets and with video assistant referees not involved at this stage of the competition, that was that.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Wilder. “I’ve not seen it back. It is a competitive game but times have changed. We did say at the time (Wilder and opposite number Sean Dyche) that turning the clock back that was a stock tackle by a lot of people.
“The referee’s right in front of it, he’s got a decision to make and he doesn’t, and the linesman doesn’t but I’ve been told it maybe went a little bit near the mark. We’ve just got to get the balance right.”
Dyche called it “a bizarre game from the officials. One minute they’re giving fouls for a tiny touch and someone going down, which is standard Premier League stuff, and the next that challenge is given as a foul and that was it.”
It distracted from a positive start by the visitors, with two of their five debutants particularly impressive.
The on-loan Ethan Ampadu, picked on the right of a back three, showed some nifty footwork to get himself out of trouble when Robbie Brady pressed him in the opening minutes, and took his confidence from there.
Left wing-back Max Lowe was involved in the opening goal, a lovely move which saw the ball swept from the right touchline out to his, where he delivered a cross David McGoldrick guided beautifully inside the near post. For some reason, cup goals come much easier to the centre-forward, but Blades fans will be hoping after a difficult season when it came to Premier League goalscoring – if not performances – 2020-21 will be more productive.
Burnley-born Oliver Norwood was the only starter from the XI which lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, but was used in a slightly different role, he and Sander Berge playing the opposite way around to how they normally do in tandem and linking well.
Oliver Burke, another summer signing, was alongside McGoldrick and it was noticeable how those in pink were keen to clip the ball over Burnley’s back four to use his pace, albeit it did not quite come off.
McGoldrick had a shot parried by Nick Pope after a good run by Ben Osborn, who won a free-kick when fouled by the touchline after being picked out by Berge’s dinked pass and Norwood fizzed in a free-kick Pope had to palm away to prevent him scoring direct.
The Clarets came into the first half as it progressed, Jay Rodriguez just failing to get a touch to Matt Lowton’s wonderfully fired-in cross and Wes Foderingham fortunate Matej Vydra was flagged offside as he cleaned him out in the penalty area.
Brady stroked the ball against the post after the restart and it felt like an equaliser was coming. It was direct and beautifully executed, Rodriguez leaping to chest Lowton’s cross to scorer Vydra.
The Blades got their second wind in the final quarter, with Lowe, again, and substitute McBurnie prominent.
Considering he had such a good game, it was ironic that Lowe almost helped to win it with a really poor shot, so bad it found McBurnie, whose effort was cleared in the 90th minute.
There was no avoiding penalties.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Long, Dunne, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Pieters 14), Brownhill, Westwood (Benson 76), Brady; Vydra, Rodriguez (Wood 82). Unused substitutes: McNeil, Peacock-Farrell, Bardsley, Thomas.
Sheffield United: Foderingham; Ampadu, Jagielka, Robinson; Bogle (Basham 87), Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Lowe; McGoldrick (Sharp 62), Burke (McBurnie 62). Unused substitutes: Ramsdale, Slater, Bryan, Brunt.
Referee: P Tierney (Wigan).
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