Kluivert earns Bournemouth third straight PL win

Justin Kluivert settled a cagey match with the only moment of class at the Vitality Stadium as Bournemouth registered their third successive Premier League win by beating Crystal Palace 1-0.

An otherwise low-quality affair took 79 minutes to come alive with two Cherries substitutes combining to deliver the decisive blow. Antoine Semenyo escaped down the right before a pinpoint cutback found Kluivert centrally, who took a devilish touch past Daniel Munoz before slamming the ball beyond Dean Henderson.

Andoni Iraola’s side have now amassed the most points they’ve ever had at this stage of a top-flight season (41), already surpassing last season’s total, and are closing in on the top half of the table – one point adrift of Wolves in tenth.

Crystal Palace's Will Hughes (left) and Bournemouth's Alex Scott battle for the ball
Crystal Palace’s Will Hughes (left) and Bournemouth’s Alex Scott fight for the ball in a scrappy midfield battle

As for the shot-shy visitors, who ended the contest with an xG of 0.11, it marks another damaging evening in their quest to escape the relegation run-in. They remain eight clear of the drop, but continue to slide worryingly in the wrong direction.

Oliver Glasner, whose identity on the south Londoners remains unclear, has registered just won league win since taking over from Roy Hodgson in February – only three teams have scored less than Palace’s 34.

Team news

  • Bournemouth changed five from last weekend’s battling Everton win. Lloyd Kelly, Philip Billing, Dango Ouattara, Alex Scott and Ryan Christie all came in. Antoine Semenyo, suffering with illness, dropped down to the bench.
  • Only one enforced midfield change for Oliver Glasner, as Will Hughes came in for Chris Richards.

How Kluivert’s late winner saw off poor Palace

A forgettable contest was played in torrential rain and swirling winds on the south coast, which made it difficult for either side find any rhythm. Still, a scarcity of quality was apparent from the off.

Bournemouth's Justin Kluivert (centre) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the opening goal of the game
Justin Kluivert netted his fifth league goal of the season

Palace deployed former Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma as an emergency central defender, while Lewis Cook was stationed as the home side’s stand-in centre-back at the opposite end.

It took until nine minutes before the break for Eagles goalkeeper Henderson to be properly tested as he flung himself at Philip Billing’s long-range free-kick.

A minute later Henderson was at full stretch to tip Billing’s powerful header from Adam Smith’s cross over the bar. The resulting corner found Lloyd Kelly unmarked at the far post but the defender glanced harmlessly wide.

Player ratings

Bournemouth: Neto (6), Smith (7), Cook (7), Zabarnyi (8), Kelly (7), Christie (6), Scott (6), Billing (7), Tavernier (5), Solanke (5), Ouattara (6).

Subs used: Semenyo (8), Kerkez (7), Kluivert (7), Unal (n/a), Aarons (n/a).

Crystal Palace: Henderson (6), Lerma (7), Andersen (6), Ward (6), Mitchell (6), Wharton (7), Hughes (7), Munoz (5), Ayew (5), Mateta (6), Eze (6).

Subs used: Ozoh (5), Schlupp (5), Edouard (n/a).

Player of the match: Antoine Semenyo

The second period threatened to drift tediously, much in the same way the first 45 minutes had, until the introductions of Semenyo and then latterly Milos Kerkez and Kluivert as Andoni Iraola was rewarded for his shrewd in-game management.

Within seconds of his arrival Kerkez forced a sprawling save from Henderson before Solanke, who was largely starved of service, leathered the rebound into the side-netting.

Bournemouth's Alex Scott (left) and Crystal Palace's Jean-Philippe Mateta battle for the ball
Alex Scott (left) and Jean-Philippe Mateta attempt to recover the ball

Palace’s stubborn resistance was finally broken in the 79th minute when Semenyo got the better of David Ozoh down the right wing before a smart cutback allowed Kluivert to rifle home from 12 yards.

While Glasner’s side should stay out of trouble, 11th-placed Bournemouth can already start planning for another top-flight campaign after moving beyond the magic 40-point mark.

Iraola: It wasn’t our usual identity

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Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola says it wasn’t the game plan they set out to play against Crystal Palace but he is satisfied with the result

Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola: “Both teams played in a slower rhythm than we wanted. It was difficult to press them. They keep the ball well. We were not comfortable in the game, but we dealt well with the challenges.

“It wasn’t the game we wanted to play but we had the most clear chances. Luckily for us, we scored at the end.

“Antoine [Semenyo] wasn’t feeling 100 per cent before the game, but we needed him, he gave the energy that made the difference.

“We are growing as a team. We have to balance these kinds of games, where it’s not clear you’re going to win. You suffer, but you take three points, that’s important. We’re in a good position.”

Glasner disappointed with lack of goal threat

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Crystal Palace manager Oliver Glasner says his team need to be more decisive when in the opposition box as the players are taking too many touches

Crystal Palace manager Oliver Glasner: “This is the third time in a row we talk about it, it’s the same way. It’s easy, if you don’t score a goal you can’t win.

“The best result would have been a 0-0 but one situation decided the win. Of course, we are disappointed again because the players invested a lot, but we had too little danger for scoring a goal.

“Many situations where it looked like we could have a finish, but we didn’t finish.”

Analysis: Impressive Iraola one to watch

Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola (right) and Dominic Sadi celebrate after the final whistle
Andoni Iraola (right) is consistently showing his tactical nouse in his first season in England

Sky Sport’s Laura Hunter:

It was not pretty. Andoni Iraola said so himself.

“We didn’t play our usual game,” the Spaniard, who made several game-changing second-half substitutions, reflected.

Antoine Semenyo was the difference as the Bournemouth boss was rewarded for his shrewd in-game management when two of his three substitutes combined for the winner.

This was not vintage Bournemouth, certainly not in the Iraola mould. But a third successive home win will satisfy the Cherries’ head coach as his side rise to within touching distance of the top half.

They have surpassed last season’s points total with eight games remaining. That fact speaks volumes about Iraola’s impressive influence, in stark contrast to his opposite number – Oliver Glasner’s honeymoon period in south London is most definitely over.

Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi seems to be the name in vogue, linked with all the top managerial jobs. Keep this impressive rhythm going and before long, it might be Iraola who starts attracting similar outside attention.

What’s next?

Bournemouth are back in action on Saturday, travelling to Luton in the Premier League; kick-off 3pm.

Crystal Palace also play on Saturday, hosting Man City in the Premier League; kick-off 12.30pm.

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