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Gudmundsson stars on return from World Cup

Johann Berg Gudmundsson celebrates his goal
Johann Berg Gudmundsson celebrates his goal
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In his first outing since Iceland were beaten by eventual World Cup Finalists Croatia at the Rostov Arena, Johann Berg Gudmundsson showed at Macclesfield Town he is up to speed ahead of Burnley’s return to Europe.

Just over three weeks ago, Gudmundsson started the 2-1 defeat against the Croats in their final Group D game in Russia, and, after returning to training this week after a brief rest, he caught the eye in a 2-0 win at Moss Rose with a superb free kick goal - which was merely part of an impressive hour’s work overall.

Playing down either flank, Gudmundsson was positive and direct, and linked well with both full backs, as well as Jeff Hendrick, playing off the front.

The work Burnley have put into pre-season so far was evident, in terms of their urgency and tempo, and the crispness of their passing.

They moved the ball around well, showing good patience, using the width of the pitch, and their overlapping full backs to good effect.

Gudmundsson showed a good turn of pace to race onto Aaron Lennon’s header as Burnley broke from a Macclesfield corner, and his cross was turned behind for a corner.

The Iceland wideman looked sharp after a break following his exploits in Russia, and forced a save after cutting inside from Charlie Taylor’s deep centre.

Macc, under former Claret Mark Yates, threatened sporadically, and Tom Heaton did well to hold onto a deflected shot from Koby Arthur, before Chris Wood twice went close.

First he got a touch on another Taylor cross and headed over under pressure from keeper Rhys Taylor, before touching Phil Bardsley’s pull back onto the post from six yards after a delightful ball from Hendrick.

Gudmundsson then drilled a fierce shot just wide, before Heaton produced the save of the half, diving to his right to beat away a fine effort from David Fitzpatrick.

Gudmundsson switched to the left and fed over a glorious ball which Wood and Bardsley couldn’t quite get on the end of, but the goal Burnley deserved came 11 minutes from the break when Lennon latched onto a loose pass from Callum Evans, drove at goal and produced a composed finish.

Lennon was involved again when fed by Bardsley, and he picked out Hendrick, whose dummy found Jack Cork in space on the edge of the area, but he scooped his effort over.

Wood was again denied from close range when his shot was blocked by Fiacre Kelleher after Gudmundsson combined well with Taylor and saw his shot blocked by Taylor’s legs.

Three minutes after the restart, Gudmundsson capped his fine evening’s work with a glorious free kick, curling the ball away from Taylor beyond his left hand.

Westwood whipped a first time shot just last the far post after a driving run from Gudmundsson and lay off from Lennon as Burnley continued to dominate.

The Clarets’ interplay was delightful at times, and after Gudmundsson and Hendrick linked well, Hendrick went for placement over power from Lennon’s final pass, but Taylor palmed the ball away from the corner.

Ali Koiki replaced Gudmundsson after a terrific hour from the Icelander, and while Macclesfield rallied in a search for a goal, the game somewhat petered out as the Clarets claimed a 2-0 victory.

Meanwhile, at Curzon Ashton, Robbie Brady played the first 45 minutes in a 5-2 win for the Clarets.

Ben Mee sent Burnley in level after the hosts went ahead through Connor Hughes.

Sam Vokes put the Clarets ahead, before Nahki Wells, Jon Walters and a second from Vokes saw Burnley run away with things.

Tyrell McKenzie netted a late Curzon consolation.

Burnley (at Macclesfield): Heaton; Bardsley, Long, Dunne, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Koiki 60), Westwood, Cork, Lennon; Hendrick; Wood.

Subs: Legzdins, Clarke, Benson, Harker.

Burnley (at Curzon): Lindegaard, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Walters, O’Neill, McNeil, Brady (Agyei 46), Vokes, Wells.

Subs: Trialist, Younger, Bayode, Goodridge.