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Sam's strike in vain for the Cherries

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Martin Atkinson

AFC Bournemouth exited the FA Cup and missed out on a fifth-round trip to south coast neighbours Portsmouth after going down 2-1 against Premier League rivals Arsenal.

The Gunners, who have won the competition a record 13 times, progressed largely on the strength of a dominant first-half showing at Vitality Stadium.

Goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah confirmed Arsenal’s superiority and left Eddie Howe’s team with a mountain to climb after the break.

Saka drew first blood when he netted with a ferocious drive after five minutes before Nketiah’s close-range finish made it 2-0 midway through the opening period.

And although the hosts made a spirited attempt to claw back the deficit and halved the arrears through substitute Sam Surridge in stoppage time, a fifth appearance in the fifth round eluded them.

Surridge set up a thrilling finale when he netted his first senior goal for the club before Lewis Cook almost earned a replay for the hosts when he fired inches over the crossbar in the eighth minute of injury time.

Manager Eddie Howe made no fewer than six changes to his starting line-up following the Cherries’ 3-1 win over Premier League rivals Brighton six days ago.

Mark Travers, who kept a clean sheet in the third-round victory over Luton, came in for Aaron Ramsdale who was named among the Cherries substitutes.

Steve Cook returned after serving his one-match suspension, while Jack Simpson, Lewis Cook, Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling also started.

Youth team defender Brooklyn Genesini was on the bench, the 18-year-old having impressed with Alan Connell’s under-18s this season.

The Gunners, 1-0 victors over Leeds in the third round, made a bright start and opened the scoring through Saka after just five minutes.

A sweeping move, started by Joe Willock’s darting run, ended with Saka rifling the ball into the roof of the net having been teed up by Gabriel Martinelli.

The hosts appealed in vain for a penalty after Matteo Guendouzi had charged down Dom Solanke’s flick, with replays clearly showing the ball had hit his nose.

Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers stuck out his boot to block Willock’s effort at his near post after Hector Bellerin’s pass had created the opening.

The Gunners doubled their lead midway through the first half when Nketiah swept a cross from Saka past Travers from close range with a lengthy VAR check ruling Martinelli had not been in an offside position in the build up to the goal.

Nicolas Pepe drove into the side netting as Arsenal looked for a third goal before Harry Wilson’s volley from Ryan Fraser’s deflected cross was beaten away by Emiliano Martinez.

Wilson then centred for Dan Gosling to head narrowly over the crossbar before the Wales international received a booking for a foul on Nketiah.

Shkodran Mustafi required a lengthy spell of treatment following a clash with Martinez early in the second half, the defender eventually stretchered off and replaced by Rob Holding.

As the Cherries enjoyed a sustained period of pressure, Simpson headed inches wide of the post from Fraser’s 66th-minute corner.

Bellerin was attended to by Arsenal medical staff after taking a heavy blow to the chest during a challenge with Simpson.

A double substitution saw Simon Francis and Callum Wilson replace Simpson and Harry Wilson in the 74th minute.  

Wilson was unfortunate to see Nathan Ake’s lofted pass hit Sokratis and roll back to Martinez as the striker would have had a clear path to goal.

Gosling’s piledriver from 20 yards struck a defender and looped narrowly over the crossbar before Sokratis needed treatment following a clash of heads with Steve Cook.

Guendouzi's long-range effort in stoppage time failed to trouble Travers as it whistled over the crossbar.

Surridge, on as an 89th-minute substitute for Solanke, set up a grandstand finish when he halved the arrears as the clock ticked towards the final whistle.

The striker fastened on to Francis's cross from the right, took a touch and rolled the ball past Martinez to make it 2-1.

And with virtually the last kick of the game, Lewis Cook fired narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the box as Howe's team missed out on a replay.

Manchester City Etihad Stadium

Premier League

15th July 2020 6:00 PM

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