Sunday , December 17 2017

Man Utd ‘embarrassed’ in loss to Bournemouth – Cabaye helps Palace end Saints hoodoo

Crystal Palace’s Yannick Bolasie (right), and Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk battle for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at Selhurst Park, London on Dec 12. (AP)
Crystal Palace’s Yannick Bolasie (right), and Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk battle for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at Selhurst Park, London on Dec 12. (AP)

BOURNEMOUTH, England, Dec 12, (Agencies): Manchester United conceded directly from a second-minute corner on their way to a humbling 2-1 loss at Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, capping a humiliating week for England’s biggest club that began with a Champions League group-stage exit.

In front of 11,500 fans in its cramped and atmospheric Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth — a tiny coastal club that almost fell from England’s professional leagues six years ago — completed a remarkable double following a 1-0 win at reigning Premier League champion Chelsea last week.

Josh King was the match-winner for Bournemouth in the 54th minute, finding himself in lots of space to turn in a finish from a pre-planned corner routine. There had been more embarrassment earlier for United, when Junior Stanislas’ corner kick sailed directly into the far corner to give the hosts the lead.

Marouane Fellaini equalized for United in the 24th.

The defeat piles more pressure on United manager Louis van Gaal.

Palace 1, Saints 0

In London, Yohan Cabaye scored the only goal of the game as Crystal Palace earnt a first ever Premier League victory over Southampton.

DR Congo international Yannick Bolasie produced some vintage wing-play before crossing for Cabaye to tap home from close range seven minutes from half-time at a blustery Selhurst Park in South London.

In 12 previous Premier League meetings between the teams, Palace had failed to win even once and had scored just a single goal in their last seven meetings with the Saints.

But a first top flight success against Southampton for 24 years pushed Alan Pardew’s Eagles up to sixth in the table.

Pardew made one change to his starting line-up from Monday night’s 1-1 draw at Everton with winger Wilfried Zaha back from suspension to take the place of Australia international Mile Jedinak.

Ronald Koeman made four personnel changes and switched to a 3-5-2 formation that seemed to unsettle his charges.

Cabaye caused panic in the Saints box with a low free-kick that fizzed past everyone, needing just a slight touch to turn it in.

Saints goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga then made a stunning triple-save keeping out Bolasie’s looping, curling shot, springing to his feet to block Cabaye’s finger-stinger and then parrying a close-range prod from Connor Wickham.

Shane Long bent a shot just wide for the visitors before home goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey showed stunning reflexes to acrobatically push Steven Davis’s header over the bar.

Cabaye slotted in from close range on 38 minutes after Bolasie just managed to stay onside before crossing from the right.

In the second half, Jason Puncheon failed to turn in Bolasie’s cross against his former employers before Long blazed wildly over at the other end.

Another player lining up against his former club, Saints captain Jose Fonte blocked Zaha’s shot as Palace threatened to run away with it.

Koeman brought on top scorer Graziano Pelle from the bench but it failed to spark a revival.

Zaha should have finished it but after Bolasie cut in from the left, the former Manchester United winger sliced the French-born Congolese international’s cutback high over the bar from 10 yards.

Gazzaniga almost sealed the victory when he let a backpass run under his foot before scrambling back to save his own blushes.

Moments later he turned Wickham’s shot around the post before blocking one-handed Bolasie’s volley from the resulting corner.

Even so, Saints could have snatched a point in injury time but Hennessey saved well to deny Long’s half-volley.

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