Match Reports

Albion v Bournemouth report

DEBUTANT Ahmed Hegazi headed Albion to a 1-0 opening-day victory over AFC Bournemouth at The Hawthorns.

The Egyptian centre-back, a summer loan signing from Al Ahly, nodded home Chris Brunt's 31st-minute free-kick to deservedly secure all three points on the first weekend of the 2017/18 Premier League season - Albion's eighth successive campaign in England's top flight.

It capped a super first-half performance in which the Baggies threatened time and again, with fellow debutant Jay Rodriguez also coming close to a maiden goal.

And the hosts stood firm after the break, with teenager Rekeem Harper making his senior bow, to secure Albion's first opening-day victory on home soil since 2012, with 25,011 present on a mild mid-August afternoon at The Hawthorns. 

Hegazi and Rodriguez were both handed full debuts while there was also a midfield start for Academy graduate Sam Field.

Albion made a positive start to proceedings with Rodriguez in sharp form - forcing three save from Cherries keeper Asmir Begovic inside the opening 15 minutes before then curling just inches wide of the far post.

Yet it was fellow new boy Hegazi who headed the opener at the back post from an inch-perfect Brunt set-piece - sending the Egyptian, his team-mates and the home crowd into raptures.

The Cherries enjoyed a brief spell of pressure before Claudio Yacob spurned a great chance to double the advantage and Ben Foster saved well from Joshua King before the break.

Yacob headed into the side-netting shortly after the restart before Bournemouth took a foothold in the game.

Tony Pulis introduced another Academy graduate Harper and Hal Robson-Kanu off the bench as the vistors enjoyed greater possession.

Yet the Baggies remained strong, with both Robson-Kanu and Salomon Rondon going close late on, to open their season with a victory.

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