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First Team

Kluivert on target as Cherries march on


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Justin Kluivert bagged the only goal as AFC Bournemouth registered a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace to ease past last season’s total points tally in the Premier League.

Kluivert’s clinical finish 11 minutes from time saw the Cherries climb to 11th place on 41 points, two more than in 2022/23 and still with eight games remaining.

Victory also saw the Cherries equal a club Premier League record of three successive home wins, set in 2016/17 and matched the following season.

Dean Henderson was forced to punch clear a Lewis Cook corner in the early stages before Jefferson Lerma’s crucial interception prevented Philip Billing from having a clear run on goal.

Eagles striker Jean-Philippe Mateta flicked Dango Ouattara’s header over the crossbar following another dangerous corner from Cook.

Mateta, teed up by Eberechi Eze, fired an effort straight at Cherries goalkeeper Neto before Billing traded passes with Ouattara and curled a shot narrowly past the post.

Will Hughes started a swift counter-attack for the visitors and, despite outnumbering the Cherries, Eze lost control, allowing Adam Smith to clear the danger.

Henderson scrambled across his line to parry Billing’s speculative free-kick from around 35 yards before the same pair were involved in the clearest chance of the first 37 minutes.

Billing timed his run to perfection and arrived to meet Smith’s precise centre, the Dane’s header acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by Henderson.

And from the resultant corner taken by Billing, Lloyd Kelly eluded his marker at the far post but could only direct his header wide of the target.

As the first half drew to a close, Billing’s 20-yard free-kick was charged down by Joel Ward in the Palace defensive wall.

The visitors were convinced they had taken the lead in added time, only for Eze’s effort to be ruled out for offside against Mateta in the build-up.

Milos Kerkez, on as a 63rd-minute replacement for Ouattara, charged up the pitch and tried his luck from distance with Henderson parrying his effort.

And after Solanke had reacted quickest and seized on the loose ball, his shot was turned past the post by Henderson, although referee Graham Scott awarded a goal-kick.

The Cherries made the breakthrough 11 minutes from time when substitutes Semenyo and Kluivert combined to fashion an emphatic opening goal.

Semenyo showed great strength and tenacity to beat David Ozoh down the right flank before centring for Kluivert who took a touch and drilled an unstoppable drive past Henderson.

The Eagles goalkeeper then stuck out his left boot to prevent Semenyo from doubling the Cherries’ lead after he had fastened on to a pass from Kerkez.

The visitors appealed in vain for a penalty after Jeffery Schlupp had gone to ground under a Smith challenge with VAR backing up referee Scott's initial decision.

As the Cherries went in search of a second goal, Henderson was forced to beat away Kluivert's stinging drive.

AFC Bournemouth: Neto, Cook, Kelly, Solanke (Ünal, 89), Christie, Ouattara (Kerkez, 63), Scott (Semenyo, h/t), Smith (Aarons, 89), Tavernier, Zabarnyi, Billing (Kluivert, 64).

Unused subs: Travers (g/k), Faivre, Adams, Hill.

Booked: Tavernier, Semenyo, Kelly.

Crystal Palace: Henderson, Ward, Andersen, Hughes (Ozoh, 69), Muñoz, Wharton (Édouard, 85), Lerma, Mitchell, Ayew (Schlupp, 69), Eze, Mateta.

Booked: Andersen, Hughes.

Unused subs: Matthews (g/k), Tomkins, Clyne, Ahamada, Umeh-Chibueze, Mathurin.

Referee: Graham Scott.

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