Bournemouth 2-2 Aston Villa. Ollie Watkins headed in a 90th-minute equaliser as Aston Villa twice came from behind to draw with Bournemouth in a thrilling Premier League game.
Antoine Semenyo gave the Cherries an early lead with a smart low finish after a mistake by Diego Carlos.
Leon Bailey got Villa back on level terms after he cut in from the right and shot through a crowded area.
Dominic Solanke put Bournemouth ahead again but Watkins popped up to ensure the points were shared.
Villa boss Unai Emery praised the character and fighting qualities of his side, who remain fourth in the table.
“We struggled in moments and we were resilient. This point is not the best but it is not the worst,” Emery said.
“We were aware it would be difficult to get a victory today.”
There were chances aplenty in an end-to-end game at the Vitality Stadium, with Emiliano Martinez particularly busy in the Villa goal.
The Argentina goalkeeper twice blocked from Solanke from close range and also denied substitute Luis Sinisterra.
Villa had the ball in the net in the first half with the score at 1-1 when Diego Carlos swept home, only for VAR to rule it out for offside.
After Solanke’s composed finish put the Cherries ahead seven minutes into the second half, a deflected shot from Jhon Duran struck the post as Villa pushed to get back on terms.
Watkins, who had been an injury doubt for this match, was subdued for much of the game but made a telling contribution as injury time beckoned.
The England striker got on the end of Moussa Diaby’s cross to flick a glancing header beyond the diving Neto to score his eighth goal of the season.
Solanke said the result “felt like a loss conceding so late”, while Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola felt his side’s performance merited more.
“We deserved to win the game but against this type of opposition this can happen,” Iraola said. “One point is not enough for us today.”
Villa have been in imperious form under Emery this season, prompting talk of a sustained push for a top-four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.
But against Bournemouth, they were uncharacteristically sloppy at the back, lacked bite in midfield and struggled to make an impact up front.
With only four players picked from the starting line-up from their Europa League win over Legia Warsaw during the week, fatigue could hardly be used as an excuse.
However, the strongest indicator that they have the capacity to go the distance in the scrap to finish in the Premier League top four is that they did not crumple here.
Even though it was not their day, Villa’s players rolled up their sleeves and stayed in the contest at a time when Bournemouth should really have put the game to bed.
Villa were especially indebted to Martinez’s indefatigable spirit, and his presence between the sticks paved the way for Watkins to steal a point.
“It shows our resilience but we are not starting games well away from home,” the striker said.
“If we can iron that out, it will help us. Every game we want to win. We are in good form. We fancy ourselves against anybody.”
Solanke has now bettered his final league goal tally from last season – six in 33 appearances – with seven after 14 games of this campaign.
His finish for the goal epitomised a striker who looks brimming with confidence.
The 26-year-old allowed Milos Kerkez’s cross to run across his body as he turned his back to goal to shield it from Pau Torres. He then adroitly spun the Villa defender and wrong-footed Martinez with a clinical low finish into the net.
The former Chelsea and Liverpool striker has been touted for great things since he was the player of the tournament at the 2017 Under-20 World Cup – won by England.
After not quite living up to that early hype, he has now entered what should be the peak years of his career and is primed to kick on further.
Solanke has been capped once by England – as a 75th-minute substitute a friendly against Brazil at Wembley six years ago.
If he keeps up his goalscoring form throughout the remainder of the season, he could force himself into the mix alongside Watkins to be Harry Kane’s understudy at next summer’s European Championships in Germany.
source – BBC