Bournemouth 1-0 Crystal Palace: Justin Kluivert scores late winner as Cherries climb above Chelsea… with Eagles now winless in four Premier League games

  • Bournemouth recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace
  • Justin Kluivert came off the bench to score a 70th minute winner at the Vitality
  • Four points from safety and a favourable run of fixtures… Burnley DO have a sniff at the great escape – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast

 In the end, even a mystery illness failed to stop Antoine Semenyo from being Bournemouth’s magic man.

The Cherries’ talisman was named on the bench before pre-match whispers suggested he had fallen foul of a bug that had swept through the Bournemouth camp over the weekend and been removed from the squad.

Cue turned heads and surprised glances when Semenyo trotted out the tunnel to take his place among the substitutes and then make a his second-half cameo and set up Justin Kluivert to score the winner.

And oh how this game needed it. For so long, even the purists would have struggled with this one. 

On a bitter night on the south coast, beneath howling winds and swirling rain, these two mid-table Premier League teams played out a contest that embodied how little they have to fight for.

Justin Kluivert’s fifth Premier League goal of the season handed the Cherries a valuable 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace

Music from the Great Escape greeted the teams as they emerged on to the pitch at the Vitality Stadium and yet, in only the first week of April, neither of these clubs feel as though they will be daunted by such end-of-season scraps.

Relegation is too far in the rear-view mirror, even for Palace now under Oliver Glasner with points deductions flying around, and Europe is a speck in the distance.

The only sense of pre-match mystery was over Semenyo who was named on the bench, then said to be missing through illness, only to then emerge out of the tunnel for the warm-up.

That’s as exciting as it got for almost half an hour under the howling wind and swirling rain on a bitter night on the south coast as the best either could muster was timid efforts at either end by Jean-Philippe Mateta and Phillip Billing.

Eventually, the game creaked open and Billing chanced his luck again with a couple of free-kicks but put one straight at the keeper and the other into the wall.

He also saw a header from close range tipped over the bar by Dean Henderson in the Palace goal.

Billing, at the heart of it again, whipped in the resulting corner but Lloyd Kelly could only head wide.

Eberechi Eze thought he’d been the one to bring the game to life when he scored and danced his way towards the Palace fans on the stroke of half-time but, as always, VAR was on hand to spoil the fun as Mateta’s heel was just offside in the build-up.

Semenyo’s mystery illness subsided enough for him to come on at half-time as Andoni Iraola looked for inspiration from the forward who’s scored four times in his previous six matches, including the equaliser and winner in that remarkable comeback from 3-0 down against Luton here last month.

In the end, that’s just what he got. With 10 minutes left, he bullied his full-back down the Bournemouth left and pulled the ball back for fellow substitute Justin Kluivert to smash in the winner.

The hosts held their breath briefly at the death when Jeffrey Schlupp went down in the box under a challenge by Cook. VAR, for once, chose not to get involved.

Premier LeagueJustin Kluivert