AFC Bournemouth produced a resilient display as they defeated Premier League champions Leicester City at Vitality Stadium this evening.
Marc Pugh marked his first league start of the campaign with what turned out to be the winner, after an excellent volley fired straight past Ron-Robert Zieler in front of a jubilant Ted MacDougall Stand.
It means it’s the second season in a row the Cherries have beaten the Premier League champions and as things stand, the club sit in eighth place in the league table.
Eddie Howe made two changes to the side that lost at Burnley last weekend, with Jack Wilshere returning for Dan Gosling and Pugh in for Callum Wilson.
The first chance came within three minutes of the referee’s whistle, after Charlie Daniels made his way through the Foxes defence and produced a fizzing ball into the box, only for it to be inches in front of an unmarked Adam Smith who would surely have netted at point-blank range.
It was then Leicester’s chance to press, with Riyhad Mahrez’s through ball perfectly weighted for Jamie Vardy, requiring a superb block by Steve Cook to see it out for a corner.
However, the Cherries continued to look threatening with Jack Wilshere’s shot firing straight into the arms of Zieler and Pugh failing to make the most of the Foxes keeper off his line.
Up the other end of the pitch, a string of long throws led to an opening for Robert Huth, but his shot was deflected wide and the danger cleared.
Nevertheless, it was the Cherries who broke the deadlock.
After Zieler acrobatically saved Benik Afobe’s effort from close range, the ball rebounded for Pugh who marked his first Premier League start of the season with an expertly taken volley into the back of the net, giving Howe’s side a well-deserved lead.
Just before the break, the Cherries came close to doubling their lead, after Afobe was neatly played through, but he couldn’t get past a resolute Wes Morgan.
As the second half got underway, Claudio Ranieri’s side started strongly.
Luis Hernandez’s throw into the box was flicked away by Nathan Ake, falling into the path of Simon Francis who skilfully cleared.
It was soon in the visitors’ half where the Cherries captain was causing problems after his ball to into the box found Smith in space, who narrowly fired over.
But it was the Foxes that forced themselves onto the front foot, with Christian Fuchs swinging in a delicate ball for second-half substitute Shinji Okazaki, however the Japanese international couldn’t divert it goalwards.
Vardy was subsequently in the thick of the action after a bobbling ball saw him try an overhead-kick, only for Artur Boruc to comfortably collect the 29-year-old’s effort.
Shortly after, Huth was unable to direct Mahrez’s corner on target, while Okazaki was able to burst through the Cherries defence before firing a shot to the right of Boruc’s goal.
A strong tackle from Wilshere allowed for the Cherries to break up the other end, but the impressive Pugh couldn’t double his tally for the night as his curling effort went just high of Zieler’s post.
As the final five minutes of the match got underway, another sensational block from Cook denied Okazaki after Mahrez cleverly left the ball to run into his path.
And Leicester were not done yet.
A goal-line scrap from Mahrez’s corner was somehow diverted away thanks to some quick reactions from Boruc and scrappy clearing from the Cherries defence, denying the Champions a last-minute equaliser.