Bournemouth of England midfielder, Nnamdi Ofoborh was the happier of two Nigerian-born players on the pitch Tuesday night, as helped The Cherries get the better of Crystal Palace and Eberechi Eze in the Carabao League Cup, megasportsarena.com reports
It was a breath of fresh air and welcome relief for Ofoborh and his teammates, as they exerted victory over a team from the English Premier League, from which they were relegated in the past season, and what an amazing manner it came with an 11-10 victory via penalties.
While Eze was silent al through the game and Ofoborh hardly got into highlights of the Carabao Cup second round tie, Bournemouth’s goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic went from zero to hero in the space of a minute, as he lost the night’s first penalty kick then went on to make a crucial save.
After a goalless 90 minutes at Vitality Stadium, the back-up shot-stopper saw his effort from 12-yards denied by Wayne Hennessey in a marathon shootout of 21 penalties but, after the other keeper also blazed over the bar, Palace captain, Luka Milivojevic failed to convert his kick and Eze’s side went crashing out at this stage for the second year in a row.
While Eze, who was with Queens Park Rangers in the English Championship last season, failed to make progress in the League Cup, Ofoborh will have the pleasure of facing Manchester City in the next stage on September 22; as the third round draw had been made earlier this month.
With Eze on from the start this time, Jeffrey Schlupp was the only Palace player to retain his spot in the starting eleven from Saturday’s opening day victory in the EPL, while Bournemouth made 10 changes from their win over Blackburn Rovers last weekend.
The Eagles’ coach, Roy Hodgson handed a full debut to Eze in midfield, while Chelsea loanee, Michy Batshuayi led the line, but it was youngster Nya Kirby that went closest for the visitors when he tested Begovic after 21 minutes.
The Cherries enjoyed the better of the first half and should have taken the lead in the 32nd minute but Sam Surridge was adjudged to be offside after he slotted past Hennessey and Palace had another chance six minutes later only for David Brooks to volley wide while off balance.
Bournemouth went close with 56 minutes played, but Sam Woods slid in on Surridge before the defender blocked Jack Stacey’s effort, after which Hennessey was called upon but he was equal to a firm strike by right wing-back Stacey.
Palace turned to some of their big guns by this point, as Schlupp and Woods were replaced by Jordan Ayew and Mamadou Sakho, who was back on the pitch for the first time in two months after a hamstring injury, while Andros Townsend joined them on the field for the visitors with 20 minutes left but, though their intensity improved, The Eagles still struggled to create chances.
Ofoborh was one of two Bournemouth academy graduates handed a run out by Bournemouth’s coach along with Jordan Zemura and both caught the eye in a back five which was able to shut out The Eagles and force penalties; which became inevitable after the Nigerian-born lad was free inside the area in the 85th minute, but the debutant sliced wide from a promising position.
In the final analysis, after 20 successful spot-kicks out of 20 taken, Begovic was denied by his opposite number, Hennessey, but the Wales shot-stopper then blazed his effort over when he had the chance to win it for Palace; following which Brooks scored for a second time and the next was lost by Milivojevic to set up a third-round tie for Ofoborh’s side away to holders City.