Cherries are kings of Lyon
- Dean Whiteside
AFC Bournemouth rounded off their pre-season games programme with a hugely-impressive 3-0 victory over seven-time French champions Lyon at Vitality Stadium.
Finely-taken goals from last season’s leading marksman Callum Wilson and midfield prospect Gavin Kilkenny effectively had the game won inside the opening 19 minutes.
Joshua King added a third 18 minutes from time as Eddie Howe’s team turned on the style ahead of their Premier League curtain-raiser against Sheffield United on August 10th.
The Cherries were worthy winners and their display against a strong Lyon side which finished third in Ligue 1 last season would have filled the manager with optimism ahead of the visit of the Blades.
Lyon, who will be in the Champions League this season and beat Arsenal to lift the Emirates Cup six days ago, started with a much-vaunted front three of Memphis, Moussa Dembele and Bertrand Traore.
Summer signings Arnaut Danjuma and Philip Billing were both handed their Cherries debuts following their respective moves in the week from Club Brugge and Huddersfield Town.
They were joined in the starting line-up by defender Steve Cook who had his first taste of action having recovered from a groin injury and donned the captain’s armband.
The Cherries were forced to weather an early storm with goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale saving from Bertrand Traore before Moussa Dembele fired wide after he had seized on the rebound.
But Howe’s team then began to assert and were rewarded with a finely-taken opener from striker Callum Wilson, his third goal of a productive pre-season.
It owed much to Cherries youngsters Kilkenny and Nnamdi Ofoborh who were both instrumental in the build-up.
Kilkenny won possession near the halfway line before embarking on a surging run towards the edge of the Lyon 18-yard box. And having slipped the ball to Ofoborh who was on the overlap, his incisive pass was met by Wilson who finished emphatically past Anthony Lopes.
Kilkenny doubled the Cherries’ lead with another finely-taken strike after Diego Rico and Wilson had combined to create the opening.
Following a throw-in, Rico threaded a pass to Wilson who, in turn, found Kilkenny in space on the edge of the box and the midfielder’s arrow-like finish gave Lopes no chance as it izzed into the bottom corner of the net.
Lopes threw himself full-length to his right to save acrobatically after Nathan Ake had met a Rico cross with a bullet header.
And the Lyon goalkeeper got down smartly to parry Danjuma’s stinging drive after the Netherlands international had traded passes with Wilson.
As Lyon looked to halve the deficit, Ramsdale saved well from Memphis after the former Manchester United man had raced clear in the 37th minute.
And as the first half drew to a close, Joshua King saw one shot sail past the upright and another charged down by a defender.
Artur Boruc replaced Ramsdale at the interval, meaning all four Cherries goalkeepers had been given 45 minutes against either Lyon or Lazio.
Chances were not as plentiful during the early stages of the second period until the Cherries fashioned two in quick succession.
Firstly, Wilson spun and tried his luck from the edge of the box, his effort curling the wrong side of the post.
And then King was denied by Lopes, the Lyon goalkeeper haring off his line to save at the feet of the Cherries frontman.
Martin Terrier’s strike had Boruc scrambling across his line, although the Cherries goalkeeper watched the ball go wide of the target midway through the second half.
Cook made way for Alex Dobre after 66 minutes, the defender showing no ill effects of his injury as he left the pitch.
Lyon hit the self-destruct button and conceded a needless third goal on 73 minutes, the visitors paying a heavy price for trying to play out from the back.
After Lopes had passed to Joachim Andersen on the edge of the six-yard box, the defender was muscled off the ball by King who fired into an empty net after exchanging passes with Wilson.