Football

Rudy Gestede heads Villa to victory on memorable debut

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Rudy Gestede scored 13 minutes into his Aston Villa debut to secure a 1-0 victory at newly-promoted Bournemouth.

The 6ft 4in striker - a £6million summer arrival from Blackburn - thumped home a header from an Ashley Westwood corner after coming on as a second-half substitute.

Bournemouth, making their first top-flight appearance in English football, dominated for large spells but spurned a number of good opportunities against a largely lacklustre Villa side.

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Cherries boss Eddie Howe kept faith with the team which earned his side promotion to the big time with Josh King, a free signing from Blackburn, and goalkeeper Artur Bortuc the only fresh faces in his line-up. Veteran defender Sylvain Distin had to make do with a place on the bench.

For Aston Villa, without captain Fabian Delph, now of Manchester City, and Christian Benteke, who joined Liverpool in a £32.5 million deal, boss Tim Sherwood blooded six new signings.

Micah Richards, the club's new captain, partnered Ciaran Clark in the heart of Villa's defence while Idrissa Gueye and Scott Sinclair, now a permanent player following his loan spell from Manchester City, also started for the visitors. Jordan Veretout, Jordan Amavi and Jordan Ayew were also handed their Villa bows.

Bournemouth emerged to Queen anthem 'We Will Rock You' in this most historic of matches, and the hosts did not let their supporters down, dominating the opening 45 minutes.

Sherwood, with his sleeves rolled up and marauding the touchline looked ready for battle, but his players appeared more suited for an afternoon on the beach - a stone's throw from the Vitality Stadium.

The visitors were sloppy in possession and failed to carry any threat going forward. Indeed Gabby Agbonlahor, leading the line in Benteke's absence, touched the ball on just four occasions in the opening 30 minutes.

Bournemouth had three good chances to open their Barclays Premier League account and complete a remarkable fairytale story.

The first fell to Dan Gosling with just nine minutes of the half remaining. Richards, in an otherwise impressive debut, was caught on the ball, but Gosling blazed over from 10 yards.

Andrew Surman's long ball then fell to Callum Wilson on the right flank, but one-on-one with Brad Guzan he fired his shot straight at the Villa stopper's legs.

With referee Mark Clattenburg about to blow for half-time, Simon Francis headed down to Marc Pugh, but his effort from six yards was straight at Guzan.

Sherwood would have been relieved to get his players in the dressing room.

And not long after the re-start, the visitors finally called Boruc into action when Agbonlahor cut back for Ayew but his shot was well saved.

With an hour gone Sherwood handed Gestede his debut and he immediately caused the hosts problems.

And with 72 minutes gone he provided the game's defining moment. From Westwood's corner, the giant striker leaped highest to break Bournemouth hearts.

Bournemouth searched for an equaliser but the visitors, inspired by Richards, stood their ground to seal the win.

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Topics:
Bournemouth
Football
Aston Villa
Premier League

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