Crystal Palace secure a vital win as new owners Bournemouth look on

Crystal Palace picked up three crucial points in their final game of 2022 with a 2-0 win at Bournemouth.

Both goals for Palace, who had failed to register any shots on target in their Boxing Day defeat to Fulham, came from first-half set pieces.

Jordan Ayew opened the scoring when he nodded into a Michael Olise corner, which also set up Eberechi Eze for the Eagles’ second.

New Bournemouth owners Bill Foley and actor Michael B. Jordan were introduced on the field before kickoff, but Hollywood’s sprinkle of stardust did little to lift Gary O’Neil’s team.

There was only one change for Bournemouth, who started Jaidon Anthony in place of Jack Stacey, while Patrick Vieira was forced to make two due to both James Tomkins and Tyrick Mitchell picking up red cards last time out.

Marc Guehi, returning from his own suspension, replaced Tomkins as Joel Ward came on for Mitchell.

Both sides paid their respects to Pelé with a minute’s applause before the action got underway in a heavy downpour.

Palace had an opportunity when the ball fell to Jeffrey Schlupp inside the box, but his shot was headed well clear of the left post.

The visitors were unable to make a handful of early set pieces but took the lead after 19 minutes when Ayew surged higher to meet Olise’s corner and cushioned a header into the bottom corner right from the edge of the small area.

Olise tried to set up another as he sent the ball across the goal from the right, but ultimately couldn’t find a teammate to slot it past Mark Travers.

Palace then conceded their own free kick, which was taken by Anthony who flicked it across the pitch to Kieffer Moore down the left. The Cherries striker headed a menacing header into the box, forcing Vincente Guaita to volley in to avoid any danger of an equaliser.

The Eagles extended their lead after 36 minutes after Olise once again set up a team-mate from a perfectly placed corner.

This time it was Eze, who wasted no time getting a shot with his right foot into the bottom left corner from close to the penalty spot.

It was the second time this season that Palace had gone into the second half with a two-goal lead, and the first time both had come from Palace players, with Manchester City’s John Stones own goal assisting the Eagles in August.

The rain eased after the restart, as did the home support, whose squad looked more composed. Guaita somehow survived several Bournemouth attempts at a scrum before Travers blocked Eze’s sharp shot directly from a free-kick at the other end.

The home side can ultimately only take comfort in the fact that the deficit was not wider after Schlupp picked on Jean-Philippe Mateta but the substitute headed his shot wide.

Guaita stopped Siriki Dembele’s goal before Wilfried Zaha scored a late strike and the visitors held off four minutes of added time to seal a clean sheet.

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