Bournemouth’s survival hopes took a huge dent after falling to a two goal defeat against a dominant Crystal Palace, who are now a step closer towards qualifying for Europe next season.
Luka Milivojevic put Palace ahead in the 12th minute after smashing a stunning free kick straight into the top left corner, following David Brooks’ foul on Wilfried Zaha just outside the box.
Jordan Ayew soon doubled the visitors’ lead just 11 minutes later when neat work from Zaha down the left wing allowed Patrick van Anholt to overlap, racing into the box to tee up Ayew who fired in from space.
Nathan Ake went closest for Bournemouth midway through the second half when he twice headed over from close range.
Defeat consequently leaves Bournemouth still in the relegation zone on goal difference, whilst Palace move up to ninth.Embed from Getty Images
A nervy start from both teams saw David Brooks and Zaha waste shots until Zaha found himself fouled by the Welsh midfielder just outside the box, gifting Palace a golden scoring opportunity.
Milivojevic stepped up as captain and bent the free kick straight into the near top left-hand corner, beyond a helpless Aaron Ramsdale who could only get a flick on the ball to send it in via the underside of the crossbar.
Milivojevic then went close again just seven minutes later when he blasted over shortly before Jefferson Lerma innocently fouled Zaha in a collision, resulting in another Palace set piece.
Van Anholt whipped in the free kick which eventually was cleared out to Zaha on the left, who played neat moves to unleash the overlapping Van Anholt to break into the box and tee up Ayew to smash in past Ramsdale from space.
Bournemouth then tried to pull a goal back before half-time but a stubborn Palace midfield helped out their defence, denying the Cherries any meaningful chances of note.Embed from Getty Images
Eddie Howe’s relegation strugglers then suffered a blow early in the second-half when Joshua King was subbed with a suspected ankle injury, following a fair challenge from Gary Cahill.
Brooks proceeded to then set up Lerma and Lewis Cook with chances to score, only for Lerma’s shot to be blocked and Cook dragged his effort wide.
Ake went close midway through the second-half when his 63rd minute header was saved by Vicente Guaita, as he went down injured following a collision with Cahill before continuing after receiving treatment.
Substitutes, Dominic Solanke and Junior Stanislas then dragged shots wide as Bournemouth pushed for a late comeback, which failed to materialise as Ake’s 85th minute header from a throw in flew over the bar.Embed from Getty Images
Palace then controlled the game until full-time to make it a fourth consecutive victory, moving them into ninth and above Arsenal who lost earlier today at Brighton to put themselves two points off an Europa League qualification spot.
Bournemouth remain in the relegation zone on goal difference from West Ham, although the Hammers could also find themselves in the relegation zone tomorrow night if Aston Villa defeat Chelsea at Villa Park.
Speaking to BBC Sport post match, Palace’s Milivojevic described the win as the “Perfect perfect night for us.
“We could not imagine a better beginning after bigger break, so very happy for three points, clean sheet and very proud of the team.”
Bournemouth visit Wolves on Wednesday 23 June in a 6:00pm (BST) kick-off, before Crystal Palace head to Liverpool later that evening in a 8:15pm (BST) kick-off.
Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Stacey, Ake, Steve Cook, Adam Smith, Lerma, Harry Wilson (Danjuma, 45), Brooks (Stanislas, 61), Lewis Cook, King (Solanke, 49), Callum Wilson
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Dann, Cahill, van Anholt, Kouyate, Milivojevic (McCarthy, 65), McArthur (Riedewald, 89), Jordan Ayew, Benteke (Townsend, 76), Zaha