AFC Bournemouth valiantly fought back from a goal down to thump Leicester City 4-1, largely due to 100 seconds that may well save the Cherries’ season.
Results elsewhere meant it was vitally important for Bournemouth to claim all three points to avoid falling six points behind their relegation rivals. The win was the first for the Dorset men since the restart of the league last month.
Eddie Howe made three changes to the side that managed a goalless draw with Tottenham on Thursday. Jack Stacey replaced Adam Smith at right back due to concussion protocol. Arnaut Danjuma replaced Junior Stanislas on the right-hand side of midfield and goal-shy Dominic Solanke started up front in place of Joshua King, who missed the game due to a minor hamstring injury.
Champions League chasing visitors Leicester City made one change from their Tuesday night draw with Arsenal, as Christian Fuchs replaced Ryan Bennett as Brendan Rodgers shuffled The Foxes back line.
In a game in which neither side could afford to not win, it was Leicester who started the game far more confidently. The 2015-16 Premier League champions looked bright and fashioned a number of decent early openings without really testing Aaron Ramsdale in the Bournemouth net.
Leicester did eventually managed to make one of their chances count. Dan Gosling got caught on the ball in the middle of the park, and the Foxes broke with pace. A clever one two between Kelechi Iheanacho and Ayoze Perez carved open the Cherries defence, allowing Iheanacho to lift the ball over an onrushing Ramsdale. Makeshift centre-half Lloyd Kelly attempted a half-hearted flicked clearance off the line, but the ball fell to Leicester’s fox in the box, Jamie Vardy, who bundled home his fourth goal in three games.
Vardy was presented an opportunity to double Leicester’s lead, and his own personal tally, thanks to an unfortunate back pass from Arnaut Danjuma. The Dutch winger, under pressure from the Leicester midfield, attempted a ball back to Nathan Ake. However, Vardy was the grateful recipient of the wayward ball. He turned and attempted a left footed effort, which was heroically blocked by Ake as he chucked his body between ball and net.
Ake’s block proved to be his final contribution of the game, as things went from bad to worse for the relegation-destined Cherries. Ake limped off moments later, suffering a suspected knee injury in the process of denying Leicester a second.
Bournemouth started the second half with a greater urgency than the first and were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after it appeared Caglar Soyuncu pushed Callum Wilson over in the penalty area.
Wilson then had a great chance to draw things level, but Steve Cook’s swivelled cross-cum-shot flashed across the six-yard box and narrowly evaded the England international.
Bournemouth capitalised on a calamitous Kasper Schmeichel error to earn themselves a penalty. The Danish keeper thumped his goal kick against Wilfred Ndidi and Wilson was the man on hand to pounce on the loose ball. Ndidi couldn’t do much but bring down Wilson and a penalty was routinely awarded and Ndidi lucky to stay on the pitch.
Substitute Junior Stanislas stepped up and comfortably dispatched the spot kick to level the tie.
A seemingly different side since the interval, an uncharacteristically confident-looking Bournemouth instantly took the lead, scoring their second goal in as many minutes. Dominic Solanke was the unlikely scorer, picking up a Callum Wilson flick on and bringing the ball forward well on the left-hand side before striking a decent shot which squirmed past Kasper Schmeichel to make it 2-1.
And things got better for the South coast side, as Caglar Suyuncu was shown a straight red for kicking out at Callum Wilson in the aftermath of Solanke’s first Premier League goal for Bournemouth.
Junior Stanislas was pivotal in sealing the victory against the Foxes ten men, courtesy of some much-needed luck for the Cherries. The tricky winger brought the ball into the box from the right-hand side and fashioned an opportunity to shoot with his left foot. The low effort was heading wide but rebounded off the inside of a static Jonny Evans leg to creep past a desperate Schmeichel for the third.
Dominic Solanke got his second, and Bournemouth’s fourth, only minutes later. The previously baron forward anticipated a loose Leicester pass and calmly collected the ball in the box, before audaciously guiding the ball through Schmeichel’s legs.
This rounded up an spectacular win for Eddie Howe’s men, who now are just three points behind 17th placed Watford, despite the Hornets being on a two game winning streak.
The Cherries travel to Manchester City on Wednesday, where despite being big underdogs they will have to fight for everything with just two games remaining after.
AFC Bournemouth: 12 Aaron Ramsdale, 17 Jack Stacey, 5 Nathan Ake © (Steve Cook 39’), 26 Lloyd Kelly, 21 Diego Rico, 14 Arnaut Danjuma (Junior Stanislas 45’), 4 Dan Gosling (Philip Billing 45’), 8 Jefferson Lerma, 20 David Brooks (Lewis Cook 80’), 9 Dominic Solanke, 13 Callum Wilson (Sam Surridge 89’).
Subs: 1 Artur Boruc (GK), 3 Steve Cook (Nathan Ake 39’), 6 Andrew Surman, 16 Lewis Cook (David Brooks 80’), 19 Junior Stanislas (Arnaut Danjuma 45’), 22 Harry Wilson, 25 Jack Simpson, 29 Philip Billing (Dan Gosling 45’), 44 Sam Surridge (Callum Wilson 89’).
Booked: Gosling 33’ Stansilas 86’
Leicester City: 1 Kasper Schmeichel ©, 2 James Justin, 4 Caglar Soyuncu, 6 Jonny Evans, 11 Marc Albrighton (Ryan Bennett 16’), 8 Youri Tielemans, 25 Wilfred Ndidi, 28 Christian Fuchs, 17 Ayoze Perez (Harvey Barnes 71’), 9 Jamie Vardy, 14 Kelechi Iheanacho (Dennis Praet 45’).
Subs: 12 David Ward (GK), 5 Wes Morgan, 7 Demarai Gray, 15 Harvey Barnes (Ayoze Perez 71’), 20 Hamza Choudhury, 22 Matty James, 24 Nampalys Mendy, 26 Dennis Praet (Kelechi Iheanacho 45’), 29 Ryan Bennett (Marc Albrighton 16’).
Booked: Suyuncu (straight red 67’)