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Ten man Cherries defeated by Girona

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth


AFC Bournemouth suffered their first defeat of pre-season at the hands of Girona, as three goals in six minutes saw a hectic end to the game.

A goalless opening period saw chances fall to Ake and Solanke, before Eddie Howe made ten changes at the interval ahead of the second half.

20 minutes in, Jack Simpson was shown red for a foul on Marc Gual, who subsequently gave his side the lead with a finish from close-range.

Ryan Fraser got the Cherries back on track with a neat strike, before centre-back Juanpe headed the winner home for Girona at the death.

Once again, Howe split his squad for the two 45-minute halves, youngster Gavin Kilkenny making his maiden appearance in red and black to start the game, while Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke were paired up front.

The Cherries started brightly, with their first chance coming inside the opening quarter-of-an-hour, Adam Smith’s free-kick finding the head of Nathan Ake, who couldn’t quite divert his effort on target.

It was then over to youngster Alex Dobre for the side’s second opening of the game as the Romania under-21 international cut in from the left to fire a shot straight at Juan Carlos.

At the other end of the pitch, Eddie Howe’s side survived a scare moments later, after Mark Travers’ clearance deflected off Ake and almost trickled into the empty net.

However, before long, Carlos was called into action again as Wilson played a delightful ball through to Solanke, but the acute angle meant the striker’s shot was parried well away.  

On the half-hour mark, Girona were on the attack with Juan Boselli at the heart of the action. The 19-year-old slalomed through the Cherries defence and forced a good save from Travers just yards out.

Nevertheless, there was still time for Howe’s side to apply pressure before the break. First, Wilson pounced on a mistake at the back, which Girona defender Pedro Alcala recovered from just in time, before Dobre’s bullet header from Smith’s cross forced an excellent reaction out of Carlos.

As was the case for Tuesday’s win over AFC Wimbledon, there were comprehensive changes made at half time, Nnamdi Ofoborh the only Cherries man to retain his place.

Girona started the second period brightly, substitute Gual having three early shots, all of which were diverted for a corner with the danger eventually cleared.

The Cherries were then dealt a blow as Simpson was shown a red card for a foul on the menacing Gual, who appeared to be through on goal before being pulled back by the 22-year-old.

Playing the remaining 25 minutes with ten men, Howe’s side showed few signs of fatigue and the game’s next chance fell to Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe, his shot being saved by Girona’s substitute ‘keeper Jose Suarez.

Despite the effort, the La Liga outfit soon made their man advantage count and it was Gual who eventually got his goal, pouncing on a loose ball at the back to slot home from yards out.

Their lead, however, was short-lived and the Cherries were soon back on level terms through Fraser. Ibe picked up the ball and drove at the Girona defence, before playing in the Scotland international on the left for his second goal of pre-season.

To round off a hectic six minutes, Girona had the ball in the back of the net once again, taking the lead and securing the win through Juanpe, who rose highest to meet Seungho Paik’s corner.

Crystal Palace Selhurst Park

Premier League

6th December 2023 7:30 PM

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