Manchester City returned the top of the Premier League after Sergio Aguero’s strike earned them a hard-fought 1-0 win at Burnley.
The champions benefited from goalline technology as top scorer Aguero was ruled to have forced the ball over the line by a mere 29.5mm just after the hour on a tense afternoon at Turf Moor.
The result took City a point clear of Liverpool with just two games remaining for each side in a compelling title race.
Aguero’s winner came as reward for a sustained spell of second-half pressure but the contest was far from straightforward.
City were disjointed in the first half as Burnley continually broke up play and prevented the visitors from settling. The long balls from deep also gave City’s defence a different problem to contend than they have experienced recently.
Vincent Kompany was probably retained in the side by Pep Guardiola to deal with this direct approach but the captain had some awkward moments as Burnley threw City off their rhythm.
Kompany took a Jack Cork shot flush on the forehead and he also gave away a free-kick which led to Ben Mee volleying over. Ederson also had to react quickly to prevent Chris Wood racing in on goal, although the New Zealand striker was also let down by a poor touch.
It took some time for City to carve out any openings and they were unable to trouble Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal before the break.
Raheem Sterling played Bernardo Silva in on the right but the Portuguese cut inside and failed to get any power in his shot. David Silva also hesitated before having an effort blocked by James Tarkowski and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s follow-up attempt was deflected wide.
Aguero went close with a curling effort from the edge of the area but Heaton appeared to have it covered and Guardiola reacted with frustration when Leroy Sane shot tamely at the keeper.
City started the second period with greater intensity and Aguero forced a good save from Heaton before the visitors had a strong penalty appeal turned down when a David Silva shot struck Barnes on the arm.
Heaton saved well from Bernardo Silva as City applied more pressure and Aguero drove a shot wide.
The breakthrough finally came in scrappy fashion after 63 minutes as Bernardo Silva drove the ball into the box. Aguero initially miskicked but the ball remained at his feet and the Argentinian managed to poke the ball over the line at the second attempt – by a tiny margin according to the technology – before Matt Lowton could clear.
City looked to the referee for another goalline decision when substitute Gabriel Jesus rounded Heaton to bring a diving clearance from Mee, but this time Paul Tierney’s watch did not buzz.
Guardiola’s side did take the sting out of Burnley’s play by retaining possession in the closing minutes but some defending still needed to be done and the final whistle was greeted with huge relief by the visitors.