Bournemouth 2 – 1 Aston Villa
Harry Wilson scored on his Bournemouth debut as two early goals saw the Cherries sink Premier League newcomers Aston Villa.
The visitors were awarded a penalty after just 45 seconds when Callum Wilson was brought down in the box by Tom Heaton – making his home debut for Villa – with Joshua King making no mistake from the spot.
Wilson, on loan at Eddie Howe’s side from Liverpool, doubled their lead with just 12 minutes played when a deflection took his left-footed strike past Heaton.
Douglas Luiz, who was making his first start for Villa following his £15m switch from Manchester City, scored a late consolation for the hosts, finding the top corner with a stunning strike from outside the box.
In a fiery encounter at Villa Park – hosting its first top-flight match in 1,197 days – Bournemouth were lucky to see out the first half with all 11 men as Philip Billing walked a tightrope with a number of poor challenges before the break.
It was Dean Smith’s Villa side who enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession, however, and they went close to getting an equaliser when chances fell to John McGinn and Trezeguet, among others.
But this was Bournemouth’s first victory of the new campaign and was the first time they have won their opening away league fixture in consecutive seasons since a run of three between 1996-1998.
Howe made two changes from the Bournemouth starting XI that drew with Sheffield United last week, and while his injury-hit squad remain without a host of key players, they could not have asked for a better start to life on the road this season.
Martin Atkinson’s decision to award them a penalty inside the first minute was met by stunned silence in Villa Park. King sent Heaton – who joined Villa from Burnley in the summer – the wrong way with his spot-kick.
The silence proved, even more, deafening some 10 minutes later when Wilson, who was on loan at Derby last season, made it two. He capitalised on a Luiz mistake before letting fly from outside the box, with his goal aided by a hefty deflection.
But Villa soon started to find their feet on home soil as the tension started to boil over, with visiting midfielder Billing involved in a melee with another of Villa’s new signings, Wesley.
A moment later, Billing received a yellow card following the first of two poor challenges on McGinn, and more questionable tackles followed on Jack Grealish and Luiz before his manager hauled him off at half-time.
Villa controlled proceedings in the second half, yet Bournemouth still saw chances to extend their lead go begging and found a second wind after Luiz’s goal, with Ryan Fraser going close in the dying minutes.
Had Villa expected a gentle reintroduction to Premier League life, last week’s late defeat by Tottenham and conceding two goals inside 12 minutes against Bournemouth gave them a taste of the harsh reality.
Five of Smith’s starting line-up were making their home debuts following Villa’s mass spending during the transfer window, but new signing Luiz failed to impress his new team’s fans in a sloppy first-half performance.
The Brazilian was at fault for Wilson’s goal, dummying a ball between his legs after mistakenly thinking a team-mate was nearby, allowing the Bournemouth man to intercept possession.
Minutes later, Luiz was lucky to avoid scoring an own goal, sending the ball towards his own net but over the bar from a delivery fired across goal by Callum Wilson.
After the break, Villa saw a penalty appeal denied by the video assistant referee after Wesley was felled by Bournemouth keeper Aaron Ramsdale. But they continued to go close to finding the back of the net, including a chance for Neil Taylor, who is looking for his first club goal since 2010.
Luiz earned some reprieve with his delightful goal, curling his strike in from a Grealish assist, and his joy was evident as he buoyed the Villa Park crowd on.
But Bournemouth stayed solid at the back as the clock ticked down, and Bjorn Engels scuppered the home side’s final chance with a header from close range.
‘A big result’ – what they said
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “It was a big result for us today. We knew the importance, the game was still in the balance at half-time, but more pleasing for us was the way we saw out the game after letting the lead slip last week.
“It was great to see we were creating chances, we were a threat. Aston Villa is a very good team. They have quality players but we managed to stay ahead. We defended the last 10-15 minutes really well.”
On Harry Wilson: “He looked like he fitted into the team, he was getting balls in between the lines. The Premier League is such a high level, it will be a very hard challenge but he’s certainly started really well.”
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “We made two big mistakes, they had two goals in 10 minutes and it’s difficult to come back from that in this league.
“You’re always chasing at 2-0 and it allows them to slow it down and kill the game a little bit.
“We kept trying, I felt John McGinn drove the game forward. He had a couple of chances in the first half and we got the goal through Douglas but we have to be better in possession, and its a harsh lesson.
“Losing the game is harsh on us. We created chances but we have got to take them – they took their chances and we didn’t. I’m not disappointed in the way we’ve played, I’m just disappointed with the result. Sometimes performances don’t get results.”
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Source – BBC