West Bromwich Albion Claim Opening Day Victory Over Bournemouth at the Hawthorns
West Brom vs Bournemouth. Hardly a game set to follow in the footsteps of the opening two games in the new Premier League season, that saw 13 goals scored in 180 minutes, West Brom ran out victors in an exciting game that saw set pieces be decisive once again at the Hawthorns.
Early chances for new signing Jay Rodriguez showed promising signs for West Brom, despite Eddie Howe's side dominating possession. Asmir Begovic did well on two occasions to match the Baggies forward, keeping the game goalless inside the opening 15 minutes.
Rodriguez continued to cause problems for Bournemouth down the left-hand side and he came close to opening his Baggies account halfway into the opening 45 minutes, curling a stunning effort narrowly wide with Begovic beaten in between the sticks.
Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazy became an instant hero for West Brom on 30 minutes when he headed the Baggies in front. Giving away a poor free kick, the Bournemouth defence fell asleep at the back post allowing Hegazy to wander in and nod the ball past a helpless Begovic.
Claudio Yacob had an incredible chance to double West Brom's advantage just before half time, however, the Argentine midfielder somehow guided his shot wide of the post.
Bournemouth made one change at half time, introducing former Liverpool star Jordon Ibe, replacing Marc Pugh, in an attempt to turn their possession into goals. Jermain Defoe also came onto the pitch, for his second Bournemouth debut, later in the second half, replacing ex-Arsenal striker Benik Afobe.
Early stages of the second half were very similar to the first 45 minutes. Bournemouth generally dominated possession, however, the Cherries looked vulnerable on the counter attack and gave away a number of set pieces as a result.
Bournemouth's Nathan Ake was vital at keeping the score at 1-0, even managing a late header towards the Baggies goal in search of an equaliser, his performances making him a clear contender for man of the match throughout.
Despite an additional five minutes being played at the end of the game, the Cherries were unable to draw level late on. Salomón Rondón, a second half substitute, tested Begovic late and although no further goals were scored, Tony Pulis secured an opening day victory just days after signing a new contract at the Hawthorns.