Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hegazi makes it three opening-day defeats in a row for the Cherries

Match Report
WBA 1 v 0 AFCB 
12 August 2017
Attendance: 25,011

Th Hawthorns was not a happy hunting ground for the Cherries.

Bournemouth never find mixing styles with WBA easy. They make it harder for themselves though when they fail to switch on to the Baggies' set-pieces and Heghazi made the most of it when he headed WBA in front on 31 minutes. That was half the job done for Tony Pulis' side who set up a road block that the Cherries never looked like breaking through. In fact, Nathan Aké was more employed at the back of Bournemouth's defence in stopping West Brom run away with a bigger victory, while AFCB toiled over 90 minutes to just get one shot on target. AFCB are going to have to come up with more invention if they are to breakdown teams that have solid game plans like WBA, but Bournemouth will improve on this.

Eddie Howe made his team selection for the first game of the season with the main omissions being Max Gradel and Lewis Cook. There was no starting place for Jermain Defoe, but Nathan Aké and Asmir Begovic were the new signings that were to make starts.

WBA made a positive start to the game with Phillips shooting over after a throw in the first eight minutes. But a shot from Jay Rodrigues went very close on nine minutes, when Begovic got down fast at his near post to keep the snap shot out off his knees.

Bournemouth's build ups were very measured but slow. WBA were getting back in shape and making it very difficult. Afobe was finding it a really physical challenge.

Steve Cook then had to make a timely challenge on Rodriguez, as the former Saints man got free.

Begovic was forced into a save low to his left as Rodrigues got a shot away that went out for a corner on 14 minutes. Rodriguez headed over from the corner from inside the six yard box. This was WBA in control.


WBA were very organised at the back and Nyom had no trouble in shuffling Pugh's efforts out of play. Pugh and Fraser linked up well as AFCB began to get more space going forward after 20 minutes.

An AFCB chance could have come from Afobe being brought down by Craig Dawson, but Fraser took the kick and didn't even beat the first man.

Rodrigues then ran on to a left wing ball and curled a shot around Steve Cook and luckily just past the left post of Begovic's goal on 23 minutes. That was as close as either team had come to a goal up to that point.

WBA started to up the tempo and pressurised Fraser into a mistake before McClean shot wide. Surman was next to give the ball away high up field, but Aké kept the Baggies at bay well. Josh King gave a dangerous free kick away on the right side for WBA as Nyom went down on 30 minutes.

Begovic put up a two man wall and Hegazi at the far post headed in unmarked at the far post from Chris Brunt's delivery. Begovic didn't come and Surman was a yard behind Hegazi, while the downward header went between Begovic's legs. WBA are 1-0 up.

Another corner for WBA gave AFCB another set-play to defend. Surman got a had on it this time before Hegazi had a rising shot on the turn.

Yacob's pull back on Frazer then earned the West Brom defender a yellow card. The ball in came off of Brunt for a corner. Fraser then played in a great ball in for Afobe down the edge of the box, but the big man couldn't square his cross. Bournemouth were building pressure though.

Another WBA corner on 40 minutes gave another glaring chance to WBA after Ahmed Hegazi headed on, but Yacob put it wide having run in on the far post. Yacob could only have been three yards out, but just couldn't divert the ball in the goal's direction.

King then broke free and took on Foster in the box wide on the right, but King couldn't get around Ben Foster and couldn't find another red and black shirt. Surman had a speculative shot from range but he was well wide of the mark.

Second Half
AFCB brought on Jordan Ibe on the right wing and took off Marc Pugh who had looked out of touch. That meant Fraser moved over to the left wing. AFCB still started the half poorly with Francis running a ball out of play with his control.

Ahmed Hegazi played a defence splitting pass to Hegazi on AFCB's left, but Aké again came to the rescue. At the other end Ibe looked to play people in before Arter had a swing from distance that was well wide.

Every time there was a WBA corner it was a worry. Another came on 53 minutes and Afobe facing his own goal headed away under pressure.

Nyom then won another corner two minutes later. Begovic made the catch, but another corner was to follow after Ibe put the ball out. This time Yacob headed it wide of the front post.

Ibe was starting to get some forward momentum and won a corner for the Cherries on 60 minutes. Surman's short corner almost found King but he was just blocked out. Fraser then had a shot that was also blocked by Dawson's head.

There was just not enough urgency in the Cherries play. Off went Afobe on 64 minutes to be replaced by Jermain Defoe. Ibe then won a fee kick 35 yards out, but Foster caught the ball cleanly.

Brunt then went through Francis. WBA were just taking the sting out of the game. Livermore also joined in bringing down Aké. King almost got a shot away but just couldn't get control before being robbed.

Ibe put over a woeful cross that summed up the Cherries afternoon. That saw Sam Field depart and on came Raheem Harper, who is only 17-years-old.

Hal Robson-Kanu then replaced Matt Phillips on 72 minutes. Francis gave the ball away when trying to find Steve Cook but Aké was quick to clear before WBA got in. The ball settled in the six-yard box after the corner, but an AFCB player finally cleared it before WBA fans got annoyed that Steve Cook was not pulled up for a hand  on the ball.

Francis gave the armband to Surman as he was replaced by Adam Smith on 80 minutes. Rodriguez was carded for a foul on Fraser's left foot. Nathan Aké won the header from the free kick, but it went straight to Ben Foster's arms.

Arter fouls Livermore. Much to the home crowd's delight WBA were given a free kick. Robson-Kanu then went for a shot with his back to goal but blazed over.

Arter was yellow carded for kicking the ball away - a needless card. A rarely seen Josh King run up the right had WBA worried, but he over ran it as the keeper came out.

WBA then brought on Rondon for Rodriguez with two minutes of the 90 to go. Five minutes of added time began. Dawson just stopped a ball putting Adam Smith through.

Rondon on the break got as shot away and Begovic had to push it past the post for a corner. Robson-Kanu was carded for fouling Surman as WBA ran down the clock. Fraser had a low shot that Foster saved cleanly to his left side. That is the only save the WBA keeper has had to make all afternoon.

A disappointing first outing from the Cherries. They did not mark well enough at set-plays and were unstuck because of it. Just as frustrating was the lack of urgency in the Cherries' play and their lack of efforts in front of goal. A total of 71 per cent possession was good, but one attempt on target out of eight is just not going to win you many games. Jordan Ibe added a little more directness, but really only Nathan Aké could say he had a good game as AFCB failed for the third time in a row to win on the opening day of their Premier League season.

Begovic, Francis (A Smith 80), S Cook, Aké, Daniels, Fraser, Arter, Surman, Pugh (Ibe 45), King, Afobe (Defoe 64)

Boruc, A Smith, Mings, Gosling, Ibe, Defoe, Mousset

AFCB Ratings
Begovic 5, Francis 5 (A Smith 5), S Cook 6, Aké 8, Daniels 6, Fraser 6, Arter 5, Surman 4, Pugh 4 (Ibe 5), King 5, Afobe 5 (Defoe 5)

Referee Watch
Robert Madley: 8/10 he didn't have many difficult decisions and watched the fouls and time wasting carefully.

Foster, Nyom, Yacob, Livermore, Phillips (Robson-Kanu 70) Brunt, McClean, Rodriguez (Rondon 88), Dawson, Hegazi, Field (Harper 70)

WBA Subs
Myhill, Robson-Kanu, Rondon, Chadli, Harper, Leko, Wilson

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