Monday, 7 August 2017

AFCB draw 2-2 with Napoli in Dean Court thriller

Match Report
AFCB 2 v 2 Napoli
6 August 2017
AFCB greet Napoli at Dean Court.
Napoli were in no mood to take it easy on the Cherries. In a dominant first half for the Italians, Begovic was called into action on many occasions. Insigne was a total menace, dropping his shoulder and turning quickly to fire shots in on goal from the the left with countless attempts. Yet, when Napoli did score it was from Insigne's deflected shot that cannoned in off Dries Mertens on the half an hour. The second half was worrying when Steve Cook walked off after only two minutes, but the Cherries held firm and Afobe headed in to equalise at the far post on 51 minutes, after good work from Gradel. Things got even better when Francis made the most of a lose ball and ran in to round the keeper and make it 2-1. Only a late equaliser, from substitute Zielinski, prevented AFCB from a famous win, but Napoli were sensational at times and it was a great leaning experience for Eddie Howe's men.

All pictures are kindly provided by Damien Hill from the Family Stand. There are some more on Match Day Gallery.

Napoli prepare to take on the Cherries.
Eddie Howe played Tyrone Mings with Steve Cook in the centre of defence, while Dan Gosling partnered Lewis Cook in the centre of midfield. Defoe was not in the squad, but King and Afobe were selected to take the attack to the Italians.

First half
The speed and power of Napoli were seen very quickly in the first five minutes as they took the game to the Cherries. The Serie A side won an early corner, with Francis making the block and hustled the midfield area with Gosling and Lewis Cook doing plenty of chasing.

Napoli kept pressing in the first 10 minutes with their left winger, Ghoulam, taking a snap shot that went wide. More danger followed when Callejon lobbed Begovic and Mings cleared off the line after 12 minutes.

It was relentless from Napoli with the ball hardly going out of play. Gradel tried hard to run at the heart of Napoli but was quickly shrugged off the ball.


Bournemouth were starting to find their feet after 17 minutes with Ibe making a strong drive forward. Passing was short, accurate and fast. Any errors were quickly seized upon.

King managed to win AFCB's first corner on 19 minutes, as the home team started to get some joy.

Begovic had to make a swift save to his left from a driven shot from Insigne, but he punched it away well.

King and Ibe them made a positive break that looked like getting King in behind, but Ibe's return pass did not get back to King and a corner was the best the Cherries could do. Bournemouth were looking more attuned to the play with 25 minutes having gone.

Napoli tried to do a cheeky corner with Insigne trying a back heel that few over the bar. A pull back from Insigne to Hamsik went closer, but then Insigne's net shot was deflected in off of Dries Mertens to make it 0-1 to the visitors on 30 minutes. Begovic had no chance really being unsighted by defenders in front of him.

Play stopped for moment for Koulibaly to get some attention, which gave all the players a chance for a water break.

Insigne then played Mertens in behind Mings and the striker was kept out by a star shaped save from Begovic on 35 minutes. Lewis Cook displayed some quick feet just to keep possession at the Napoli press continued. Begovic then had to make another save sharp to his right low down as Insigne sets his sights on goal.

Gradel gets a ticking off from the ref after a foot up on Callejon, but there was no malice in the challenge.

AFCB had managed two shots compared to Napoli's 11 in the first half and had one shot on target compared to Napoli's eight.

Ibe gets a start on the wing.
Second Half
Artur Boruc replaced Begovic in goal for the second half. Steve Cook walked off though just a couple of minutes into the half to be replaced by Jack Simpson. 

As soon as Gradel saw his shot blocked Napoli countered with Insigne pulling a ball back for Allan, who drive his shot at Mings.

Battling work from Gradel on the left then led to a looping cross off the foot of Hysaj and fell kindly onto the head of Afobe who made it 1-1 on 51 minutes. King goes sprawling in the box under challenge from Hysaj, but nothing is given.

Mings was sharply across to defend a deep ball in from the left, before Boruc had to make a one-on-one save from Mertens, having been put through with a clever little chip.

Marko Rog replaces Allan on 60 minutes. A snap shot from King is gathered comfortably by Reina in the Napoli goal. Insigne then goes for a curler, but Boruc has time to make a clean diving punch away and the follow up is over. Rog pulls a sharp save from Boruc after his shot from the centre of the D. 

Gradel lays off a pass from Lewis Cook who shoots wide, but it was a confident strike from Cook with a short back lift.

70 minute subs included, Afobe replaced by Mahoney, Mertens is going off, Reina is replaced by Milik,  Hamsik is off and Chriches coming on along with Piotr Zielinski. Gradel has really put in a shift.

Francis capitalised on some slack play from Napoli at the back he rounds a defender and slips the ball past the keeper to make it 2-1 to AFCB. I don't think the Bournemouth players can quite believe it. Gradel had run into Napoli's number 20 and the space just opened up for Francis on 76 minutes. A super finish from Francis.

Jorginho has picked up a yellow card for bringing down Ibe. Mahoney goes down after some great play to keep the ball in, but he's up again. Great chance for Simpson, but his header goes backwards rather than forwards!

Ghoulam is taken off. Boruc comes for a cross, but drops it under pressure and Zielinski slots it past Boruc's dive to the left to make it 2-2 on 83 minutes. Diawara and Maksimovic and Mario Rui come on.

Mahoney puts in a strong cross, but it's cleared. King just chips wide! It's a corner though to AFCB. King is replaced by Ndjoli.

AFCB send just about everyone up for a free kick but it's headed wide. That's it 2-2.
All square and a fabulous game to watch.
This was a tantalising game that kept fans on the edge of their seat all the way through. Napoli dominated the early stages and looked a class apart. But Begovic kept the Cherries in the game and when Bournemouth did find their stride they more than matched the Italians in their passing which will please the manager. The main concern will be how is Steve Cook and will he be ready for next weekend's game – hopefully it was just a precaution. But the top player for the Cherries on the night had to be Max Gradel who looks a totally different player this summer. He made a great assist for Afobe and even had a fortuitous hand in Bournemouth's second goal. Can we please play Napoli again next pre-season? They were excellent!

AFCB possession 49%, shots 7 , shots on target 5, 
Napoli possession 51%, shots 17, shots on target 12

Begovic (Boruc 45), Francis, S Cook (Simpson 47), Mings, Daniels, Ibe, Gosling, L Cook, Gradel, King (Ndjoli 87), Afobe (Mahoney 70)

Boruc, Butcher, Ndjoli, Holmes, Worthington, Harfield, Mahoney, Dobre, Simpson

AFCB Ratings
Begovic 8 (Boruc 6), Francis 7, S Cook 7 (Simpson 6), Mings 6, Daniels 6, Ibe 7, Gosling 6,
L Cook 8, Gradel 9, King 7, Afobe 7

Reina (Milik 70), Hysaj, Albiol, Kulibaly, Ghoulam (82), Allan (Rog 60), Jorginho, Hamsik (70), Callejon, Mertens, Insigne 

1 comment:

  1. Surprised you said Gradel was top player of the night. He was repeatedly squeezed off the ball which invited their attack. I thought he was way off the mark.