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First team

Danjuma weaves his magic on the Bees


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Man of the moment Arnaut Danjuma handed AFC Bournemouth the advantage in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final against Brentford.

Danjuma’s finely-taken second-half goal, his 16th of the season, settled a pulsating encounter in favour of the Cherries ahead of the second leg on Saturday.

The Netherlands international applied an assured finish into the bottom corner of David Raya’s net after being picked out by a David Brooks through ball in the 55th minute.

Danjuma’s strike raised the roof at Vitality Stadium with around 2,000 home supporters back in the ground for the first time since December.

But for Raya, the lead could have been greater, the Spanish stopper keeping out a bullet header from Steve Cook towards the end of the first half.

And Brentford will rightly point to a glaring miss from substitute Bryan Mbeumo who poked the ball wide with the goal at his mercy from inside the six-yard box in the second half.

Victory may have come at a cost for the Cherries with skipper Cook and midfielder Ben Pearson both forced off due to injury, the only real downside for Jonathan Woodgate’s team.

Asmir Begovic was called upon in the early stages, the Cherries goalkeeper racing off his line to claim the ball after Ivan Toney had looked to get on the end of a cross from Tariqe Fosu.

Cameron Carter-Vickers then had to deal with a low, driven cross from Mads Roerslev before Jefferson Lerma sent a rasping volley flashing over the crossbar.

A sweeping move down the right, started by Brooks’s incisive pass to Adam Smith, ended with Phil Billing missing his kick as he prepared to meet to his team-mate’s cross.

Dom Solanke’s near-post header from a Lloyd Kelly centre appeared to deflect off a defender but referee Tim Robinson thought differently and awarded a goal-kick.

As the hosts’ bright start continued, Brentford goalkeeper Raya smothered at the feet of Solanke after he had chased down a Brooks through ball.

Cook’s timely interception prevented Marcus Forss from getting on the end of Toney’s pass and racing clear, the Cherries skipper’s heroics well received by home supporters.

Referee Robinson angered the Vitality Stadium faithful for keeping his cards in his pocket as a few niggly fouls went unpunished.

A shot from Sergi Canos looped over the crossbar after taking a deflection before Solanke mounted a counter-attack from the Brentford corner, only to find Christian Norgaard instead of Danjuma with his pass.

Danjuma’s corner four minutes before half-time yielded two chances for the Cherries with Cook’s thumping header acrobatically parried by Raya.

And after Brooks had seized on the loose ball, his low shot was hacked away at the near post by Toney.

The Cherries were forced to make a change on the stroke of half-time when captain Cook succumbed to injury having been a colossus during the opening period.

Referee Robinson finally reached for his notebook when he booked Mads Roerslev for a foul on Brooks in first-half stoppage time.

Brentford captain Pontus Jansson, sent off when the teams met in April, collected a yellow card for a foul on Solanke at the start of the second half.

Bees defender Norgaard hooked an effort over the crossbar before Danjuma drew first blood for the Cherries ten minutes after the restart.

The Netherlands international finished in typically-clinical fashion, confidently slotting the ball past Raya after being put through by Brook’s sublime pass.

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank’s response was to make a triple substitution with Bryan Mbeumo, Rico Henry and Emiliano Marcondes coming on in the 58th minute.

Mathias Jensen slammed an effort into the side netting before Carter-Vickers made a superb recovery tackle to stop Mbeumo wriggling free.

Begovic dived bravely at the feet of Marcondes to beat the Brentford man to Toney’s layoff before the Cherries were forced into a second change when Ben Pearson hobbled off, the midfielder replaced by Jack Stacey.

The Cherries had a let-off when Mbeumo slid in to meet Norgaard’s low cross, the Frenchman slicing his shot past the post from close range.

Danjuma’s fiercely-struck free-kick was parried by Raya five minutes from time, the Brentford goalkeeper then getting behind Solanke’s low shot.

Billing almost nicked a second goal deep in stoppage time when he seized on Raya's wayward clearance, the goalkeeper recovering to pouch the Dane's effort.

AFC Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, Carter-Vickers, S Cook (Mepham, 45), Kelly, Lerma, Pearson (Stacey, 72), Danjuma, Billing, Brooks (Wilshere, 80), Solanke.

Unused subs: Rico, Riquelme, Anthony, Long, Surridge, Travers (g/k).

Brentford: Raya, Jansson, Norgaard, Pinnock, Roerslev (Henry, 58), Jensen (Ghoddos, 86), Janelt (Dalsgaard, 73), Canos, Fosu (Marcondes, 58), Toney, Forss (Mbeumo, 58).

Unused subs: Bidstrup, Reid, Goode, Daniels (g/k).

Booked: Roerslev, Jansson.

Referee: Tim Robinson.

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