West Bromwich Albion 1-0 AFC Bournemouth: Hegazi header spoils opening day for Cherries

Tony Pulis' side scored from a set-piece yet again and held on for a 1-0 victory against a Bournemouth side that failed to convert possession into chances

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 AFC Bournemouth: Hegazi header spoils opening day for Cherries
Hegazy scored from a Chris Brunt set-piece to give the Baggies their vital goal(Source: Matthew Ashton - AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)
West Bromwich Albion
1 0
AFC Bournemouth
West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Nyom, Dawson, Hegazi, Brunt; Yacob; Phillips (Robson-Kanu, 72), Field (Harper, 70), Livermore, McClean; Rodriguez (Rondon, 88).
AFC Bournemouth: Begovic; Francis (A Smith 80), Cook, Ake, Daniels; Pugh (Ibe, h-t), Arter, Surman, Fraser; King; Afobe (Defoe, 63).
SCORE: 1-0, min. 31, Hegazy.
REFEREE: Bobby Madley
INCIDENTS: The match was played at the Hawthorns.25,011 spectators.

AFC Bournemouth's first match of the new season was spoiled by West Bromwich Albion's Ahmed Hegazi, who scored his first goal for the Baggies to give them a 1-0 victory against the visitors.

Eddie Howe's side failed to convert the large amount of possession they had, into real chances. Their failure to do so led to their defeat, despite dominating the match according to the numbers. Tony Pulis will be proud of his side's display, they continued their trend of being dominant from set-piece situations in this match.

Bournemouth will hope for better luck against Watford next weekend, as they aim to forget a disappointing first match of the season.

Begovic and Aké start for the Cherries

Howe included two of his four summer signings in the starting line-up as  Asmir Begovic and Nathan Aké started at the back for the Cherries Veteran goalscorer Jermain Defoe started only on the bench as Howe opted for Josh King and Benik Afobe up top in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

For the Baggies Pulis gave debuts to Hegazy at the back and Jay Rodriguez up front, after the Englishman joined the club from Southampton in the summer. Sam Field was a surprise starter for Pulis's side as he started alongside James McClean and Matt Phillips.

Baggies gain early momentum in first half

On paper and mentality wise as well, these are two very different teams and that was visible in the way, the match was progressing from the first whistle.

The Baggies set up in an organised manner and rarely allowed the likes of King and Fraser to exploit spaces in behind. Although Bournemouth dominated possession of the ball for large parts of the first half, it was the home side that took their chances and threatened early.

Debutant Rodriguez didn't take a lot of time to impress his new fans, testing Begovic with a snap shot after Chris Brunt launched a great long throw into the box. Rodriguez was just getting started, he found space behind the Bournemouth defence again just moments later.

Another throw in situation began West Brom's advances, Jake Livermore took advantage of Aké's slip to play Rodriguez in, whose powerful strike was parried away by the Cherries keeper Begovic.

Throughout the first half, Bournemouth seemed to be struggling with the Baggiescounter-attacks and that was evident again when a poor clearing header from Simon Francis allowed Brunt to find McClean in space who then teed up Rodriguez. The former Saints man's curling effort missing the top corner by a few inches as the home side searched for the first goal.

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Hegazy gives West Brom fans a debut to cheer for

Egyptian international Hegazi, who joined West Brom on loan from Al-Ahly in the summer, impressed hugely in the defence in the absence of veteran defender Gareth McAuley.

At the half-hour mark, the Cherries defence was broken and it was the Egyptian's header that gave the home side the lead, after an excellent set-piece from Brunt found Hegazyiat the back-post whose header couldn't be saved by the despairing Begovic.

Bournemouth looked to respond quickly after conceding the opener and Ryan Fraser was fouled in a promising area and the resulting free-kick almost gave them the equaliser, the ball deflected off Craig Dawson and missed the near post.

It was clear that Hegazi was in the mood to impress and could've scored a wonder goal just a few minutes after the opener, but his effort from outside the box looped over the bar as Begovic breathed a sigh of relief. Another set-piece opportunity came along the home side's way as Hegazi flicked a corner into the path of Brunt who was unable to make it 2-0 from close range.

Bournemouth's first chance of the game came from Andrew Surman who decided to test Ben Foster from long-range, however, his attempt ended up in the stands behind the goal. That effort summed up the Cherries' display in the first half. Howe's side were frustrated to be unable to convert their dominance of the ball into real chances.

Second half of frustration for Cherries

The second half's story wasn't a million miles away from the first, as Howe's men failed to create any real chances and that allowed Ben Foster to have a relaxed day at the back.

West Brom carried the first half momentum through to the second and looked to fashion opportunities to make it 2-0, but they were unable to do so. Howe brought Jordon Ibe into the fold in place of Marc Pugh in a hope to change the game, but Ibe did little to affect the second half as a whole.

Jermain Defoe was brought into the game by Howe after the hour mark as the Cherries desperately searched for the all-important equaliser. Howe's side pushed late on but once again failed to convert their possession into goal-scoring opportunities.

Another concern late on in the second half was the injury to captain Francis who had to be taken off the pitch for Adam Smith. West Brom had their chances late in the game as Solomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu both went close with their chances, and with that the game ended 1-0 on a bright sunny afternoon at the Hawthorns.