Bournemouth 4 – 1 Leeds United. Bournemouth moved ever closer to securing their Premier League status with victory at the Vitality Stadium as Leeds’ relegation fears deepened.
Jefferson Lerma scored twice in four first-half minutes to put the Cherries in control – curling in a superb first-time shot before lashing the ball home after Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier flapped at a corner from the right.
Leeds pulled a goal back with a Patrick Bamford header from Wilfried Gnonto’s cross on 32 minutes but a tidy finish from Dominic Solanke restored Bournemouth’s two-goal advantage in the 63rd.
The visitors tried to force their way back into the game but could not find a way past Neto in the Bournemouth goal. After keeping out a fierce strike from Marc Roca, the former Fiorentina keeper made a fine double save to deny Robin Koch and then Gnonto.
Substitute Antoine Semenyo’s first Bournemouth goal sealed the win in stoppage time as his shot squirmed under Meslier.
Defeat leaves Javi Gracia’s side in 16th, just a point above the relegation zone and regardless of the result between Leicester and Everton. Only goal difference will keep them out of the bottom three by Monday night.
Meanwhile, Gary O’Neil’s Bournemouth are up to 13th, 10 points clear of the drop zone.
With games against Leicester and Bournemouth, this was seen as a pivotal few days in Leeds’ fight against relegation.
Taking just one point from those fixtures leaves them perilously close to the relegation places and with an unenviable run of games to close out the season.
Next up is a trip to table-topping Manchester City before they welcome Eddie Howe’s in-form Newcastle to Elland Road.
West Ham away follows before a home game with Tottenham on the final day.
It is a far from straightforward stretch for any side, let alone one that has collected just a solitary point from their last five games and conceded 18 goals in the process.
Leeds have four games to try and save themselves but having shown a worrying combination of shaky at the back and profligate up top at the Vitality, it is looking increasingly likely that they will need favours from elsewhere to stay up.
After victory at Southampton on Thursday, O’Neil refused to accept that his side were safe.
Three days on and a beaming Bournemouth boss joined the Cherries’ celebrations at the final whistle, suggesting an additional three points had been enough to change his thinking.
His side opened the scoring against the run of play but from then on they were deserving of their win.
It completes a marvellous turnaround for Bournemouth after former boss Scott Parker seemed resigned to relegation after a 9-0 defeat at Liverpool in August.
Under O’Neil, though, the Cherries have shown huge resilience and played some lovely football along the way.
Against Leeds, Lerma finished with aplomb for both his goals, Solanke also took his well and led the line superbly, while Dango Ouattara was a constant threat down the right.
Few would have thought it after that thrashing at Anfield but, with four games remaining, Bournemouth fans can look forward to another season in the top flight.
source – BBC