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Kluivert earns Bournemouth third straight PL win

Justin Kluivert settled a cagey match with the only moment of quality at the Vitality Stadium as Bournemouth registered their third successive Premier League win by beating Crystal Palace 1-0.

An otherwise low-quality affair took 79 minutes to come alive with two Cherries substitutes combining to deliver the decisive blow. Antoine Semenyo escaped down the right before a smart cutback found Kluivert centrally, who took a devilish touch before slamming the ball beyond a helpless Dean Henderson.

Andoni Iraola’s side have now amassed the most points they’ve ever had at this stage of a top-flight season (41), already surpassing last season’s total, and are closing in on the top half of the table – one point adrift of Wolves in tenth.

As for the shot-shy visitors, who ended the contest with an xG of 0.11, it marks another damaging evening in their quest to escape the teams embroiled in the relegation fight. They remain eight clear of the drop, but continue to slide worryingly in the wrong direction.

Oliver Glasner has registered just won league win since taking over from Roy Hodgson in February.

Crystal Palace's Will Hughes (left) and Bournemouth's Alex Scott battle for the ball
Image: Crystal Palace’s Will Hughes (left) and Bournemouth’s Alex Scott battle for the ball

How Kluivert’s late winner saw off poor Palace

A forgettable contest was played in torrential rain and swirling winds on the south coast, which made it difficult for either side find any rhythm. Still, a scarcity of quality was apparent from the off.

Bournemouth's Justin Kluivert (centre) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the opening goal of the game
Image: Bournemouth’s Justin Kluivert (centre) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the opening goal of the game

Palace deployed former Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma as an emergency central defender, while Lewis Cook was stationed as Bournemouth’s stand-in centre-back at the opposite end.

It took until nine minutes before the break for Eagles goalkeeper Henderson to be properly tested as he flung himself at Philip Billing’s long-range free-kick.

A minute later Henderson was at full stretch to tip Billing’s powerful header from Adam Smith’s cross over the bar. The resulting corner found Lloyd Kelly unmarked at the far post but the defender glanced harmlessly wide.

Bournemouth's Alex Scott (left) and Crystal Palace's Jean-Philippe Mateta battle for the ball
Image: Bournemouth’s Alex Scott (left) and Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta battle for the ball

The second period threatened to drift tediously, much in the same way the first 45 minutes had, until the introductions of Semenyo and then latterly Milos Kerkez and Kluivert as Andoni Iraola was vindicated for his shrewd in-game management.

Within seconds of his arrival Kerkez forced a sprawling save from Henderson before Solanke, who was largely starved of service, leathered the rebound into the side-netting.

Palace’s stubborn resistance was finally broken in the 79th minute when Semenyo got the better of David Ozoh down the right wing before a smart cutback allowed Kluivert to rifle home from 12 yards.

What’s next?

Bournemouth are back in action on Saturday, travelling to Luton in the Premier League; kick-off 3pm.

Crystal Palace also play on Saturday, hosting Man City in the Premier League; kick-off 12.30pm.

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source