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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019

Ireland's Stephen Ward scores absolute stunner as Burnley conjure big shock at the Bridge

Reigning champions Chelsea were embarrassed on home soil.

Image: John Walton

HE’S NOT KNOWN for his scoring prowess but Republic of Ireland international Stephen Ward conjured an absolute stunner for Burnley as they inexplicably put three past Chelsea on a worrying open day for the reigning champions.

The Clarets conjured all three of their goals in the opening period, capitalising on Gary Cahill’s early sending-off, as Sam Vokes grabbed a brace.

Chelsea did rally late in the second-half through strikes from expensive summer signing Alvaro Morata and David Luiz but couldn’t find an equaliser.

Everything was made a lot more difficult when Cesc Fabregas picked up a second yellow card with 10 minutes left to reduce Chelsea to nine men.

Ward had only ever previously netted one solitary top-flight goal for the Clarets and that came in a 3-2 win over Bournemouth last December.

But, he’s doubled his tally now after a brilliant left-foot drive.

Burnley were already leading 1-0 when Ward took a free-kick on the left-side and played it inside to summer signing Jack Cork.

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.00.12 Source: NBC

Ward continued his run and Cork played a perfectly-weighted pass over the head of N’Golo Kante and Ward took a superb first touch on his chest to take himself away from the midfielder and tee himself up.

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.04.24 Source: NBC

Ward let the ball bounce twice before he thumped the strike wide of Thibaut Courtois and it nestled in the far corner to give Burnley a 2-0 lead.

Sam Vokes added his second of the game shortly after as Sean Dyche’s side went into the break three goals in front.

After the break, the home side were inevitably improved but still couldn’t create many chances.

Chelsea v Burnley - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Source: John Walton

When Morata came off the bench to replace the ineffective Batshuayi on the hour mark, he gave them some new options and tucked away a neat, cushioned header from Willian’s cross just ten minutes after his introduction.

But, hopes of a dramatic comeback were dealt another blow when Fabregas caught Jack Cork and picked up a second yellow card.

Still, Luiz popped up with a close-range volley to make it a one-goal game but the guests did enough to see it out and held on for a famous victory.

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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