Manchester, United Kingdom (AFP) – Manchester City thrashed Burnley 5-0 at an empty Etihad to ensure Liverpool will not be able to clinch the Premier League title when they face Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
However, the match was overshadowed by a banner flown over the stadium at the start of the match reading: “White lives matter Burnley”.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) has been printed on the back of all shirts for the first 12 matches of the Premier League restart.
Players, coaches and referees have also taken a knee before kick-off in every match to show their support for the fight against racial injustice.
“I am ashamed, I’m embarrassed, that a small number of our fans have decided to put that around the stadium,” said Burnley captain Ben Mee.
“These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves as a lot of us do. I’m really upset that happened.”
In a statement, Burnley promised to hand lifetime bans to those responsible. “We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor,” said the club.
The disparity of resources between the sides was shown even before kick-off as Burnley boss Sean Dyche could not even fill his bench, while Pep Guardiola was able to make eight changes from a 3-0 win over Arsenal on Wednesday.
Dyche has been left frustrated by the Burnley board’s refusal to extend contracts of five players who are out of contract at the end of the month.
Phil Foden made the most of his chance to start for City as the 20-year-old opened the floodgates with a sweet strike from outside the box.
Riyad Mahrez then killed the game as a contest with a quick double before half-time.
The Algerian left Charlie Taylor trailing on the floor before firing into the far corner on his weaker right foot.
VAR awarded Mahrez the chance to double his tally from the penalty spot after Mee caught Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine striker had to be replaced by Gabriel Jesus and Guardiola admitted Aguero’s knee injury “doesn’t look good”.
“He felt something in his knee,” said Guardiola. “He struggled in the last month with some pain in his knee.”
Retaining their Premier League title may be beyond City as they trail Liverpool by 20 points, but Guardiola’s men still have the chance to add the FA Cup and Champions League to the League Cup they won in March.