Review by Sean Barker (Twitter: @_salvatori_)
AFC Bournemouth celebrated what manager Eddie Howe described as the “greatest result in Bournemouth’s history”, as The Cherries defeated Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Barclays Premier League.
It was a night which will live long in the memory of all Bournemouth fans, as substitute Glenn Murray’s 82nd minute goal was enough to defeat the reigning champions in front of a sell out crowd!
The Cherries have suffered horrendous luck with injuries this season, and the team line-up was dealt another blow as Sylvain Distin was withdrawn due to illness. With goalkeeper Adam Federici ruled out due to ankle ligament issues, Artur Boruc returned between the sticks, having just recovered enough from his own injury problems.
Boruc was called into action after only 90 seconds, as Chelsea started the game at full pace, with Eden Hazard having an effort on goal.
The early stages of the game were dominated by Chelsea, however on 6 minutes Bournemouth did manage to venture towards Chelsea’s goal. Following good pressing from Smith and Harry Arter, the ball fell to Junior Stanislas, whose shot was blocked by Gary Cahill.
The rest of the first half was very evenly matched, with chances for both sides. Stanislas forced goalkeeper Courtois into a good save on 11 minutes, with Joshua King unable to get in a decent shot from the rebound. King did put a chance goalwards on 14 minutes, but again the big Belgian was there to keep it out at his near post. At the other end, Boruc was on hand to make several good saves throughout the half, to deny superstars Hazard, Pedro and Oscar.
With the score tied 0-0 at half-time, Chelsea brought on Diego Costa up front. Jose Mourinho’s team looked to open the scoring, and for long periods of the second half Bournemouth were stuck in their own half. The home team dominated possession, but rarely did they force Boruc into a save, with only 2 efforts on target in the last 45 minutes.
Midway through the second half, Bournemouth finally enjoyed some luck with refereeing decisions this season, as a sliding Simon Francis clearly blocked a cross with his arm. Despite perhaps not being deliberate, you do see these given as penalties – however Referee Mike Jones instead waved play on.
This wasn’t the only debatable decision made by officials however, as there were also questions raised regarding Bournemouth’s winning goal.
A corner on 82 minutes was parried out by Courtois, followed by Steve Cook crossing the ball back across goal, where Murray was quickest to pounce and head home! It appeared there was only one player between Murray and the goal, rather than the two required to be onside, but that mattered not as the linesman’s flag stayed down and the striker charged off towards the celebrating away supporters.
Despite prolonged possession from Chelsea in the closing stages, they failed to secure a decent chance on goal. In fact, it was Bournemouth who came closest in the 84th minute, when Matt Ritchie had a great chance to seal the win, only for his shot to fly agonisingly wide of the goal.
And so with the final whistle, delirium ensued amongst the players, staff and supporters of AFC Bournemouth, both in the ground and around the world on this most historic of victories!
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