Sheffield United 1-3 Bournemouth. Justin Kluivert became only the third player to score in Europe’s top five leagues as Bournemouth moved seven points clear of the relegation places with a dominant 3-1 win at Sheffield United.
Kluivert, who had previously scored in La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, pounced on an error from Blades goalkeeper Wes Foderingham for the visitors’ second goal, his first in the Premier League.
Earlier, Marcus Tavernier had given Andoni Iraola’s side an early lead after good work from Antoine Semenyo cutting in from the right, before Kluivert dispossessed Foderingham on the edge of the box to double the lead in first-half stoppage time.
The Blades offered little in an insipid display, and the result was put almost beyond doubt when Tavernier converted Adam Smith’s cross at the back post for his second of the afternoon, six minutes into the second half.
Oli McBurnie headed in a consolation in the seventh minute of added time, but the goal was greeted only by ironic cheers from the home supporters.
While United had to wait until the 88th minute for their first shot on target, Bournemouth had chances aplenty and will feel their margin of victory should have been even greater.
Tavernier blazed over late in the first half when left completely unmarked, while Dominic Solanke twice fired into the side netting, with a fierce volley after teeing himself up before the break and then with a close-range shot after Semenyo’s initial effort was parried into his path by Foderingham.
“We started really well, trying to put them under pressure, kept possession and overall we dominated the game,” Bournemouth manager Iraola told BBC Match of the Day.
“We had our chances, our finishing was not the best but we got the points.
“We know that we have to keep our standard there. This is our level, this is how we compete and we need to keep it up.”
Victory was Bournemouth’s first at Bramall Lane since 1987 and while the travelling fans celebrated, the home supporters let their frustrations be known – with boos following the announcement there would be seven minutes of additional time, and more jeers at the final whistle.
It was a day of firsts for Bournemouth with Tavernier scoring his first goals of the season, Kluivert’s maiden Premier League goal after his summer move from Roma, and the Cherries’ first away league win of 2023-24.
Kluivert’s achievement of scoring in those five leagues is a feat only previously matched by ex-Romania striker Florin Raducioiu and current Montenegro captain Stevan Jovetic.
It makes the Dutch forward only the second player to do so this century – all by the age of 24 – while he has also scored in the Eredivisie in his native Netherlands.
The achievement also puts Kluivert one up on his father Patrick, who enjoyed an illustrious career, winning the Champions League as a teenager with Ajax and spending six years at Barcelona.
Kluivert Sr scored in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, England and France – but never in Germany, so comes up just short against his son there.
Sheffield United had gone into the international break with a bit of optimism after following up their first win of the season against Wolves with a creditable draw at Brighton.
However, any positivity gained from those two results quickly dissipated as they were outclassed by a Bournemouth side that started the day four points above them.
If this was supposed to be a match between two relegation rivals, it did not look like one.
“We started poorly and then, when we were going to give ourselves an opportunity to get back into the game, we conceded two really poor goals,” Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom told Match of the Day.
“When you’re conceding goals like that, particularly, in this league, you’re not going to give yourselves a chance.
“However, we can’t hide behind that, up until that point we have to be better. We dropped well below our standards that we’ve set this season, particularly in the last two games.”
In the first half, the Blades were toothless in attack and were repeatedly carved open at the back by a Cherries team more than happy to make use of the time and space afforded to them.
By the time United showed anything resembling a threat going forward in the second period, the game was lost and even then a fourth Bournemouth goal never felt far away.
With an undoubted relegation six-pointer to come at Burnley next weekend, Heckingbottom’s side must hope they can get back to the form they showed immediately before the break.
source – BBC