Abdul Fatawu’s extra-time thunderbolt fires Leicester past Bournemouth

<span>Abdul Fatawu of Leicester City celebrates scoring in extra time. </span><span>Photograph: Sean Ryan/IPS/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Abdul Fatawu of Leicester City celebrates scoring in extra time. Photograph: Sean Ryan/IPS/REX/Shutterstock

After 43 largely forgettable shots and a penalty shootout looming ominously for both Bournemouth and Leicester, naturally the winner in a low-quality game was a beauty. The extra-time interval was imminent when the substitute Abdul Fatawu took matters into his own hands, sending a superb left-foot shot curling into the top corner to earn Leicester a spot in the FA Cup quarter-finals. After a blip in their assault on the Championship, this was a welcome boon for Leicester.

Fatawu, the forward on loan from Sporting, collected fellow substitute Kelechi Iheanacho’s pass on the edge of the box, shuffled the ball out of his feet and past Milos Kerkez to buy a peek of the Bournemouth goal before dispatching an unstoppable strike. Fatawu charged off in celebration towards the away fans spread across two stands. Many of the earlier wayward efforts were comical, bordering on slapstick, keeping the ballboys on their toes throughout.

Related: Blackburn v Newcastle, Luton v Manchester City: FA Cup fifth round – live

Andoni Iraola, the Bournemouth manager, was left wondering what might have been and the absence of Dominic Solanke – behind only Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah in the Premier League goalscoring charts – proved costly, his side missing a slew of decent chances. In the end the teams racked up 49 shots between them, 10 of which were on target. Alex Scott skied a first-time shot after meeting Luis Sinisterra’s cutback and an outstretched Enes Unal, Solanke’s replacement up front, could not divert Kerkez’s shot goalwards.

Solanke had an MRI scan on a niggling knee injury on Tuesday, hours before Unal was forced off. “It is a bad day for us,” Iraola said. “To lose two No 9s in the same day is a worry.”

Leicester carry fond memories of this competition, having lifted the trophy three years ago under Brendan Rodgers, and while they will look forward to Wednesday’s draw it is plain their primary focus is securing a return to the Premier League at the first attempt. Enzo Maresca promised changes and made nine of them, with Hamza Choudhury and Jannik Vestergaard the pair to keep their places from Leicester’s starting lineup in defeat at Leeds on Friday, which cut the leaders’ buffer to third-placed Ipswich to six points.

Leicester arrived on the south coast having lost their previous two matches but their supporters were quick to remind their top-flight hosts of their recent success. “Hamza Choudhury, he’s won more than you,” they chortled. Choudhury, Iheanacho and Marc Albrighton featured at Wembley when they recorded victory over Chelsea courtesy of Youri Tielemans’s long-range cracker.

Iheanacho, who began on the bench here following Africa Cup of Nations duty with Nigeria, started that day. Albrighton went closest to opening the scoring in the first half, his low, diagonal strike from just outside of the box rattling a post on 42 minutes.

In the absence of Solanke, Bournemouth handed Unal, the on-loan Getafe and Turkey striker, his first start. He squandered a headed chance late on against Manchester City last weekend and was a handful here before being withdrawn at the interval after landing awkwardly on his shoulder in an innocuous collision with Conor Coady. Bournemouth’s Argentina international defender, Marcos Senesi, went close to opening the scoring in strange circumstances five minutes into the second half, his cross eluding his teammates and curling against the far post.

Bournemouth blew Swansea away 5-0 in the previous round and while a repeat against another second-tier opponent was never forthcoming the chances piled up. Scott, a graceful operator, fed Philip Billing inside the right channel and his cross caused panic in the Leicester box but Antoine Semenyo could not apply the all-important finishing touch. Moments later Vestergaard, given a new lease of life under Maresca, hoicked a dangerous cross clear for a corner. Up the other end Yunus Akgun stormed upfield and sent a shot at Mark Travers.

When Dango Ouattara was allowed to pick his spot from distance only to promptly send a wayward shot spinning high into the Steve Fletcher Stand, even with half an hour of normal time to play it seemed extra time was an inevitability. Soon after Maresca sent on Iheanacho and Fatawu, who later combined for the defining moment. All the while both teams passed up decent chances.

Scott threaded Semenyo through down the middle but his shot was blocked and Akgun missed the best chance to avoid another 30-plus minutes with 87 on the clock, firing over after being slipped in effortlessly by Choudhury.

The 44th shot of the contest, however, proved the all-important one, Fatawu the match-winner. “We had to shoot 25 times before we scored and the other 24 [shots] ended up in the stands,” Maresca said, able to smile at the end of a long night.