Manuel Benson came off the bench to score a stunning goal that earned Burnley a 1-0 win over local rivals Blackburn and clinched the Sky Bet Championship title for Vincent Kompany’s Clarets.
Having been second-best for much of the Lancashire derby at Ewood Park, it looked as though Burnley’s wait for the title would extend until the weekend at least, with 18 days having already passed since they were promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
But eight minutes after his introduction, Benson cut in off the right flank and curled home a beauty to which Rovers had no response.
Despite second-placed Sheffield United having played two games fewer, the Blades trail the champions by 13 points, with a maximum of only 12 points still available.
Blackburn stay eighth in the table, outside the top six on goal difference alone, with just two games remaining.
How Burnley finally snared the title on their rivals’ patch
With a derby at such a crucial point in both teams’ seasons, the stakes were high – and the game was played at a frantic tempo throughout.
But while it was end-to-end in the first half, for much it, there were few chances of note. For the hosts, Ashley Barnes’ blatant simulation resulted in a telling-off from referee Tim Robinson, while Ameen Al-Dakhil timed his header wrong and glanced wide.
Rovers, meanwhile, mustered five shots and generated an Expected Goals figure of 0.24, but their attacking intent – and clear desire to not let their bitter rivals win the title on their patch – was often let down by poor final balls.
After the break, Blackburn continued to pile on the pressure. Tyrhys Dolan took advantage of some slack defending from Charlie Taylor, but then fired straight at Aro Muric, who then claimed a looping header from Dolan after Joe Rankin-Costello’s cross.
But shortly after the hour mark, that all changed. Benson collected the ball over on the right flank, held off his marker, chopped the ball onto his favoured left foot and curled in a beauty that sent the away end berserk.
The vigour drained from Blackburn thereafter and they almost shipped a second in the dying embers, when Benson clipped the bar from a tight angle, with goalkeeper Aynsley Pears having come forward to attack a late corner. But by that point, the job was done and the celebrations could commence for the Clarets.
Player of the match – Manuel Benson
Burnley return to action on Saturday, April 29, when they travel to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City at 3pm.
Blackburn, meanwhile, play next on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1, when they host Luton at Ewood Park at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Football.
10 IN 10 ON SKY SPORTS! – 10 live Championship games in 10 days
Saturday April 22
Sunday April 23
Monday April 24
Tuesday April 25
Wednesday April 26
Sheffield United vs West Brom, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football & Sky Sports app
Thursday April 27
Rotherham vs Cardiff, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football & Sky Sports app
Friday April 28
Blackpool vs Millwall, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football & Sky Sports app
Saturday April 29
West Brom vs Norwich, 5.30pm – Live on Sky Sports Football & Sky Sports app
Sunday April 30
Cardiff vs Huddersfield, 12pm – Live on Sky Sports Football & Sky Sports app
Monday May 1
Blackburn vs Luton, 5.30pm – Live on Sky Sports Football & Sky Sports app