AFC Bournemouth celebrated another fine victory as they saw off the champions Leicester City 1-0 at The Vitality Stadium under the lights on Tuesday night.
Marc Pugh marked his first Premier League start of the season with the winning goal and a man of the match performance as the Cherries climbed to eighth in the table.
Prior to this encounter the two sides had met 11 times in their history, with Bournemouth only celebrating victory against them three times. Those wins all came in League Two, with their last victory being 2-1 back in March 1989 at home. Both matches in the Premier League last season finished as draws, 1-1 at The Vitality Stadium and 0-0 at the King Power, with the Cherries being one of few sides that enjoyed success against the champions.
Leicester were on a high after surprising Manchester City in a 4-2 win on Saturday to ease their relegation fears, while the Cherries were eager to bounce back after a frustrating 3-2 away defeat at Burnley. Jack Wilshere returned to the starting line-up for Eddie Howe’s side and Callum Wilson dropped to the bench. While Claudio Ranieri, celebrating his 200th game in charge as a Premier League manager, made just one change to the side from Saturday, with Luis Hernandez coming in for Danny Simpson as the Foxes were seeking their first away win of the season.
The home side dominated the early exchanges with plenty of possession and created the first chance of the game after four minutes. Charlie Daniels whipped a dangerous cross but the on running Adam Smith could not quite reach the ball with his head as the goal was gaping. A few minutes later, recently crowned African Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez played through Jamie Vardy one on one. The England striker rounded Artur Boruc but could not put the ball in the net after Simon Francis blocked his shot.
With 33 minutes on the clock the Cherries made the breakthrough as Pugh gave the side the lead. Benik Afobe’s strike low into the right hand corner produced a fine save from Foxes goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, but the rebound found its way out to Pugh who struck it well on the half volley. The Leicester keeper arguably could have done better in terms of keeping the effort out as he laid a glove on it but regardless it was a decent strike and Bournemouth were in front at the half time break.
Ranieri sent his side out early for the second half to get them motivated to get back into the game and brought on Shinji Okazaki to add pace to the side, replacing Islam Slimani. Despite the champions improvement in keeping possession and moving into the attacking third Smith created the first opening of the half for the home side, firing a curling effort just over the cross bar.
Okazaki looked fresh and sharp but could not inspire a Leicester equaliser as his one on one effort flashed narrowly wide. With five minutes to play the ball felll kindly to Pugh in acres of space, he took his time and lined up the shot but he curled his effort just high and just wide of the post as the Cherries looked to put the game to bed.
In stoppage time the Foxes rolled the dice in their last ditch effort to find an equaliser and came mightily close. A corner led to a goal mouth scramble, seeing Boruc pull off a fine save to deny Okazaki once, before Steve Cook blocked a second effort which would have otherwise been goal bound.
With that, AFC Bournemouth held on for an excellent three points, making it back to back wins at home and an excellent response following the surprise defeat at Burnley. Howe’s side will look to take this performance into the next game on Sunday at home to Southampton as the Cherries look to secure back to back wins in the league for the first time this season.