Football: Vydra stunner gives Burnley win at Southampton

Vydra (left) and Burnley's English goalkeeper Nick Pope reacts at the final whistle. PHOTO: AFP

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND (REUTERS) - Matej Vydra's stunning strike earned Burnley a 2-1 victory at Southampton to move them into the top half of the Premier League table on a wet and wild Saturday (Feb 15) at St Mary's Stadium.

The Czech player, who replaced injured Burnley striker Chris Wood midway through the opening half, had hardly had a sniff of goal but produced a dazzling finish on the hour.

It was the first goal of the season for the 27-year-old, who has struggled to make an impression at Turf Moor since joining from Derby County in August 2018.

Vydra's strike, a stretching left-foot effort after a superb chest down and turn on the edge of the area, was a sickener for Southampton, who looked the more likely winners after former Burnley player Danny Ings equalised in clinical fashion in the 18th minute after Ashley Westwood's bizarre 2nd minute opener.

Westwood placed the ball for a corner kick and struck a low, curled shot straight into the goal, with Ings at fault for opting to let it go past him at the near post rather than blocking it.

Vydra was delighted with his match-winning contribution.

"I was waiting so long for this chance and just tried to do my best and help for three points," he said. "I scored so I'm happy for me and my mates.

"It was a brilliant goal, but most important is the three points. Four games, three wins, we are going up in the table and I think everyone is happy right now."

The way Ings dispatched his goal, engineering some space before flashing a shot inside the post from the edge of the area, will further enhance his England credentials.

But Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl was more concerned by his side's third loss in four league games that leaves his side too close to the relegation dogfight for comfort.

"We lost against a better team if you want. They did what they do best, playing in behind the last line," said Hassenhuttl, whose side huffed and puffed in Storm Dennis and were denied a possible penalty for handball.

"We came back from a stupid goal in the 2nd minute, but we were not that clinical and not that good."

By contrast, Burnley's third win in four league games lifted them into 10th place with 34 points from 26 games, three points ahead of Southampton who remain in 13th place.

It should ease any relegation fears for Burnley, and with Manchester City's impending European ban, even opens up the possibility of them qualifying for the Europa League, as eighth place might well be enough this season.

They are now two points behind eighth-placed Everton.

"We just want to build on last season. We want more points. It's another shift forward," manager Sean Dyche said.

"It's about development. We just have to find a way to win. That's the art of the game - to win."

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