Soccer

FA Cup defeat was an opportunity missed for Bournemouth – Andoni Iraola

Abdul Fatawu’s stunning extra-time winner snatched victory for Leicester.

Andoni Iraola feels his side’s FA Cup defeat was an opportunity lost for Bournemouth
Andoni Iraola File Photo Andoni Iraola feels his side’s FA Cup defeat was an opportunity lost for Bournemouth (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Andoni Iraola admitted Bournemouth had missed a golden opportunity to book a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals for only the third time in their history after losing 1-0 at home to Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester’s reserves.

Despite making nine changes, 2021 winners Leicester progressed thanks to substitute Abdul Fatawu’s stunning extra-time winner.

Iraola, whose Premier League Cherries had 26 shots on goal, said: “It is disappointing and it was a bad night for us because at the end it was the worst thing that could happen.

“We played 120 minutes with very tired legs.

“We had a lot of chances but you have to make the right decision at the end; with the last pass, last shot, and we finished a lot of shots very high.

“I think it’s an opportunity missed.”

Bournemouth left top-scorer Dominic Solanke out of their matchday squad as he was struggling with illness and he was badly missed.

Both teams had chances to win the game in normal time, with Marc Albrighton hitting a post for Leicester in the first half and Bournemouth defender Marcos Senesi doing likewise in the second.

Hamza Choudhury also cleared an Enes Unal shot off the line in the opening half.

Yunus Akgun should have won it for the visitors four minutes from the end of normal time when he found himself one-on-one with Mark Travers but blazed over.

Just as the game looked to be heading for a penalty shootout, Ghanaian Fatawu won it in the final minute of the first half of extra time.

FA Cup debutant Fatawu collected Kelechi Iheanacho’s pass on the edge of the penalty area before cutting in on his left foot and burying the ball into the top corner.

Bournemouth keeper Travers got a hand to the shot but was powerless to keep it out.

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca was pleased with the way his much-changed side bounced back from Friday’s 3-1 defeat at home to promotion rivals Leeds.

Maresca said: “We are happy because tonight we missed many chances, but at the end we have been lucky because we could score one goal.

“We try always to share minutes in this kind of game because all of the players deserve the chance.

“Tonight was a mix between many young players and some senior players and in the end, we played a good game.

“The FA Cup is a fantastic competition so when you have the chance to go forward it’s a good one.

“The league is important, the FA Cup is important, but the most important thing for me is the way we perform. Tonight, once again, the performance was good.”