Bournemouth out of relegation zone with 2-1 win over Aston Villa
Bournemouth climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone after they held on for a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, despite being reduced to 10 men for the majority of the second half.
The result ensured Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth leapfrogged Villa to take 16th place in the standings with 26 points from 25 matches.
Philip Billing broke the deadlock for the hosts when he slotted home from close range, connecting with a knockdown from Dan Gosling.
Bournemouth doubled their lead minutes before halftime after Ryan Fraser’s initial shot was saved by Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina, only for Nathan Ake to score from the rebound.
Jefferson Lerma, who found himself on a yellow card inside the opening 20 minutes, was sent off for the hosts early in the second half after he fouled Villa midfielder Jack Grealish deep inside his own half.
Villa pulled themselves back into the contest courtesy of Mbwana Samatta, who became the first Tanzanian to score in the Premier League with a debut goal on 70 minutes.
Samatta scored Villa’s first headed goal of the league campaign after reacting quickest to Keinan Davis’ deflected effort.
But Bournemouth’s defensive line produced a mature display to soak up Villa’s pressure as they held on to celebrate back-to-back league victories for the first time since September.
Villa are now just one point and one place above the relegation zone, and manager Dean Smith bemoaned his team’s lack of a killer instinct to breakdown a 10-man opposition.
“I wasn’t happy with the first half and how we played 11 v 11 but the second half, after they had a man set off, was better, although we did not do enough with possession,” he added.
“They have had a man sent off and after that we have dominated possession but have not done enough to create clear-cut chances to get ourselves back and deserved to lose in the end.”
Smith confirmed defender Ezri Konsa picked up a muscle injury before he was substituted at halftime, while Danny Drinkwater was unavailable for the match due to a calf injury.
(Content and photos syndicated via Reuters)