EPL

Andoni Iraola pleased to see Bournemouth’s patience pay off with victory

By Sports Desk April 02, 2024

Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola praised his side’s patience after a late goal from Justin Kluivert earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Crystal Palace.

Dutchman Kluivert’s strike 11 minutes from time was enough to seal the Cherries’ third straight win and their fourth in five matches.

Iraola, whose side found it tough going to breach Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson and his stubborn defence, also praised substitute Antoine Semenyo for setting up the winning goal after coming on at half-time.

He said: “Tonight probably wasn’t the game we wanted to play because Palace are a team that want to keep position and want to defend on the ball without being too direct in attack.

“They were not creating chances but we were not comfortable but I think we dealt quite well with the game. We had a strong bench and scored another late goal, which is not a bad thing.

“We have almost two players in each position and that is good for the competition and also helped provide energy in the second half.

“Antoine had a headache before the game but at least he was able to give us a good 45 minutes and make the assist and he was a very important player for us.”

It took until nine minutes before half-time for Bournemouth to seriously test Henderson, who flung himself down to his left to turn Philip Billing’s long-range free-kick away from goal.

A minute later Henderson made an even better save to acrobatically tip Billing’s powerful header from an Adam Smith cross over the bar.

Palace thought they had taken the lead in first-half stoppage time when Eberechi Eze fired home at the far post via a deflection but celebrations were cut short after a VAR review deemed Jean-Philippe Mateta was just offside in the build-up to the goal.

Palace’s resistance was finally broken in the 79th minute when Semenyo got the better of David Ozoh down the right wing before cutting the ball back for fellow substitute Kluivert to rifle home from 12 yards.

The defeat extends Palace’s winless away run to 10 matches and manager Oliver Glasner said: “I’m not worried about the away form.

“I am really proud of the team; how we defended as a team and how we kept them out of our box. But if you don’t score, you can’t win.

“I think we had good opportunities but we did not finish them.

“In the end we have to blame ourselves that we have not maximised the situations we created and this is what we have to improve, to be more decisive and more direct in front of goal, then we can start to win games.”

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