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Bournemouth 0-1 Manchester United: Casemiro overhead kick puts Red Devils on verge of top four


Casemiro scores an overhead kick for Manchester United against Bournemouth
Casemiro has now scored five goals in all competitions this season

Casemiro’s stunning overhead kick edged Manchester United a step closer to a top-four finish as they secured a narrow Premier League victory over Bournemouth.

The Red Devils need just one point from their final two games against Chelsea and Fulham to secure Champions League football at Old Trafford next season.

In a game lacking in clear-cut opportunities at both ends a piece of magic from Casemiro proved the difference at the Vitality Stadium.

The Brazilian picked up a beautifully weighted pass from Christian Eriksen and turned away from Marcos Senesi to acrobatically hammer home.

Without their top goal scorer this season, Marcus Rashford, who was absent from the squad with illness and missed the opportunity to equal his best tally of 17 goals in a single campaign, United struggled to mount regular goal threats.

But Casemiro’s ninth-minute strike and Liverpool’s draw against Aston Villa moved United one point away from a guaranteed top-four spot.

United on track for Champions League return

With Liverpool trailing for much of their match against Villa, United’s win looked like it could be enough to secure Erik ten Hag’s side a top-four place.

But a late Roberto Firmino equaliser means United must now wait until Thursday at the earliest to ensure the return of Europe’s top competition to Old Trafford after a season-long absence.

Meanwhile, as Red Devils fans also await news on who their new owner will be, there can be few complaints from supporters about the job Ten Hag has done.

Winning the Carabao Cup, preparing to face Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley on 3 June and on the brink of securing a top-four place is an impressive feat for the Dutch manager’s first foray into the Premier League.

While rumours are circulating about the future of long-serving goalkeeper David de Gea, the result at Anfield also means the Spanish shot-stopper has done enough to secure the Golden Glove, having kept 16 clean sheets this term.

All United’s achievements come despite a poor away record – they have only earned eight points from nine top-flight away matches in 2023, and equalled the club record for most Premier League away defeats in a season (eight).

As was the case against Wolves last week, the Red Devils at times lacked urgency against Bournemouth with Dominic Solanke twice going close and David Brooks forcing a fingertip save from De Gea.

Bruno Fernandes saw a shot deflected wide and a second powerful effort saved by Neto but in Rashford’s absence United’s potency in front of goal was lacking.

Wout Weghorst hit a sweet strike late on but it was punched away by the Bournemouth keeper, meaning the Dutch striker’s hunt for a first Premier League goal for the club continues.

Cherries safe but defensive improvements needed

Many pundits and fans had written Bournemouth off before the start of the season, tipping them to return straight back to the Championship.

But manager Gary O’Neil has done a fine job, meaning a relatively flat match at the Vitality did not matter as he has already seen his side move well clear of the relegation battle.

Bournemouth sit 14th in the league and face relegation-threatened Everton in their last game of the season at Goodison Park.

The Cherries have, however, conceded 70 Premier League goals in 2022-23, equalling their highest-ever figure from 2018-19 and O’Neil will have to solve those defensive frailties to ensure his side progress next season.

But they did well to limit United to just one goal on Saturday and spurned their own opportunities to level with Kieffer Moore’s strike producing a fine stop from De Gea.

With their safety confirmed Bournemouth will now look towards building a squad that can further extend their stay in the top flight next year.

The home fans also celebrated the return of Brooks to the starting 11 – for the first time in 598 days after he was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2021.

Player of the match

CasemiroCasemiro

AFC Bournemouth

  1. Squad number21Player nameMoore

  2. Squad number7Player nameBrooks

  3. Squad number9Player nameSolanke

  4. Squad number32Player nameAnthony

  5. Squad number18Player nameViña

  6. Squad number15Player nameA Smith

  7. Squad number13Player nameNeto

  8. Squad number4Player nameL Cook

  9. Squad number25Player nameSenesi

  10. Squad number11Player nameOuattara

  11. Squad number8Player nameLerma

  12. Squad number10Player nameChristie

  13. Squad number27Player nameZabarnyi

  14. Squad number5Player nameKelly

Line-ups

Bournemouth

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Neto
  • 15A SmithSubstituted forViñaat 66′minutes
  • 27Zabarnyi
  • 25Senesi
  • 5Kelly
  • 4L CookBooked at 70mins
  • 8Lerma
  • 7BrooksSubstituted forMooreat 56′minutes
  • 10ChristieSubstituted forOuattaraat 66′minutes
  • 32Anthony
  • 9Solanke

Substitutes

  • 1Travers
  • 3Stephens
  • 6Mepham
  • 11Ouattara
  • 17Stacey
  • 18Viña
  • 21Moore
  • 49Sadi
  • 51Adu-Adjei

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 19Varane
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 23Shaw
  • 18Casemiro
  • 14EriksenSubstituted forMcTominayat 86′minutes
  • 21AntonySubstituted forFredat 86′minutes
  • 8Bruno Fernandes
  • 25SanchoSubstituted forGarnachoat 72′minutes
  • 9MartialSubstituted forWeghorstat 57′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Maguire
  • 12Malacia
  • 17Fred
  • 20Dalot
  • 27Weghorst
  • 28Pellistri
  • 31Butland
  • 39McTominay
  • 49Garnacho

Referee:
Chris Kavanagh

Attendance:
10,240

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