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Brilliant Billing is Bournemouth's hero

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

David Coote

Philip Billing scored the only goal of the game as AFC Bournemouth earned a crucial 1-0 win over Leicester City at King Power Stadium.

It was Billing's seventh goal of the season and helped the Cherries climb to 15th in the Premier League table with eight games remaining.

Gary O'Neil made two changes to the starting XI that faced Brighton in midweek. Chris Mepham joined Jack Stephens in the centre of defence for his first start since the trip to Arsenal, while Joe Rothwell came in for Hamed Traorè who picked up a knock in training.

In a sign of things to come in the first half, Dominic Solanke twice put goalkeeper Daniel Iversen under pressure in the opening minutes with the hosts trying to play out from the back.

Billing clipped the outside of the post from an early free kick, while some great link-up play saw further chances created for both players, with Joe Rothwell and Ryan Christie combining well behind them.

Marcus Tavernier replaced Dango Ouattara on the left wing after 37 minutes, with O'Neil later explaining it was a tactical substitution.

It wasn't long after the change that Billing put Bournemouth ahead, capitalising on James Maddison's misdirected pass back to Iversen and slotting past his fellow countryman.

The second half opened with another couple of chances for the Cherries. Tavernier earned a corner having been slid in behind the defence by Billing.

From the resulting delivery, Rothwell found the head of Mepham at the back post. Iversen blocked well before catching Christie's looping header from the rebound.

The half continued in much the same way for the next 15 minutes, with Solanke, Tavernier and Kelly all having shots on goal.

The hosts started to create opportunities of their own midway through the second half following the introduction of Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka, but were thwarted by the Cherries defence each time.

O'Neil's side largely restricted their opponents to shots from distance as Kristiansen lashed over twice and Teté fired wide. 

As the clocked ran down, the Cherries regained control of the game as Adam Smith and Christie saw shots blocked, while Neto made a comfortable save from Daka's acrobatic effort. 

Following near-perfect game management in the final minutes, the referee blew the full-time whistle to spark electric scenes between players and supporters, with the squad staying on the pitch to be serenaded by the large travelling support. 

Leicester City: Iversen, Castagne, Amartey, Faes, Kristiansen, Soumaré, Ndid (Praet, 81), Ricardo Pereira (Iheanacho, 58), Maddison, Barnes (Tetê, 72), Vardy (Daka, 58).

Subs not used: Evans, Souttar, Mendy, Thomas, Ward (g/k).

AFC Bournemouth: Neto, Smith, Stephens, Mepham, Kelly, Lerma, Rothwell (Cook 59), Christie, Billing, Ouattara (Tavernier 38), Solanke (Semenyo 88).

Subs not used: Viña, Zabarnyi, Brooks, Moore, Anthony, Travers (g/k).

Booked: Rothwell, Kelly, Smith.

Referee: David Coote.

Attendance: 32,094.

Sheffield United Vitality Stadium

Premier League

9th March 2024 3:00 PM

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