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Match report: AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Valencia - Benik Afobe scores in pre-season draw

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Benik Afobe cancelled out Enzo Perez’s opener just before the break amongst plenty of chances for both sides who chose to field fairly strong squads. 

The Cherries started brightly, with Max Gradel making the most of a loose ball before drawing a foul from a frustrated Valencia defence. It was he who stood over the dead ball, drifting it just over the heads of Afobe and Nathan Ake who couldn’t divert it goalwards. 

It was Gradel again who was causing problems down the left-hand side in the opening 20 minutes as he found new signing Brad Smith on the overlap, who subsequently drilled a fizzing ball into the area, only for Andrew Surman’s low drive to hit the post. 

Pako Ayestaran’s side soon upped their game and it was their turn to test the Cherries defence. Jose Gaya whipped a testing ball into the box and it was centre-back Lucas Orban who came closest to making contact at point-blank range - fortunately for the Cherries he missed the inswinging delivery. 

However, Eddie Howe’s side remained unfazed with their best chance of the game so far coming just moments later. Afobe turned Orban following Simon Francis’ hoofed clearance before Aderlan Santos flung himself in front of a wicked left-footed shot deflecting the ball away from danger. 

Despite the Cherries’ resilience, the deadlock was broken by Valencia on 39 minutes as Perez - who played in the 2014 World Cup final for Argentina - cut inside the penalty area and curled the ball out of Arter Boruc’s reach leaving the score going into the break standing at 1-0 to the visitors. 

The Spanish outfit started the second half as they had left off, with Steve Cook forced to make a crucial block and once again a dangerous cross by Gaya asking just too much of the Valencia forwards.  

But it was the home fans who were soon up on their feet as Howe’s side produced what was arguably the move of the game after 53 minutes. Gradel’s backheel found Francis who played a sublime ball into an unmarked Afobe, leaving him to chest the ball down and fire in the equaliser from eight yards.


From here, it was the Cherries who carried the momentum with Francis and Afobe in the thick of it once again, linking up well and forcing Joao Cancelo into conceding a corner. From the resulting set-play, there were calls for a penalty after Nathan Ake found himself down after a tussle in the box but it soon waved away by referee Brendan Malone. 

In the dying minutes, both Gradel and Afobe were unable to get their shots away after being surrounded by Los Che defenders as the game ended in a respectable 1-1 draw. 

AFC Bournemouth: Boruc, A Smith (Jordan 63), S Cook, Francis (O’Kane 73), B Smith, Ake (MacDonald 73), Surman, L Cook (Butcher 79), Gradel, Ibe (Green 79 (Ndjoli 90)), Afobe. 

Subs not used: Holmes, Lee, Surridge. 

Valencia: Ryan, Cancelo (Ayala 79), Santos (Vezo 45), Perez (Vidal 79), Alacer (Mir 73), Gaya (Bakkali 73), Fuego (Cartabia 45), Rodrigo (Soler 45), Medran (Eugeni 73), Mina (Siqueira 73), Orban. 

Subs not used: Alves, Sivera, Lato, Suarez.  

Goals: Perez (39), Afobe (63)   

Referee: B Malone 

Attendance: 8,107 

Yellow cards:

Words by Zoe Rundle

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