Bournemouth all but confirmed their place in next season’s top-flight with a crushing 4-0 victory over doomed 10-man Middlesbrough.
Having started the game in 16th position and on a winless streak of four games, the pressure was on the Cherries but they took it in their stride and raced into a two-goal lead with a little over 15 minutes played.
Josh King made the breakthrough after only 120 seconds with his 14th goal of the season and Benik Afobe doubled the advantage shortly after.
Boro are the only team in the top five European leagues not to have won a league fixture in 2017 and their fortune never looked like changing at the Vitality Stadium. Their task at hand became almost impossible when Gaston Ramirez was foolishly sent off for two bookable offences midway through the first period and this was shortly followed by an injury to £12m signing Marten De Roon who was forced off.
To their credit, the Teessiders improved for a brief spell after the interval but normal service was soon resumed when Marc Pugh marked his 250th appearance for the club with a well taken goal on 65 minutes.
As the visitors crumbled, Bournemouth’s confidence only increased and they had a fourth goal to celebrate five minutes later when Charlie Daniels smashed in from 20 yards following a well-worked free-kick routine.
Substitute Lys Mousset missed a glorious opportunity to complete the rout but Eddie Howe will be pleased with a convincing victory that almost guarantees his side's safety as the Cherries move up to 12th place in the table with 38 points.
It looks much more precarious for Middlesbrough who remain 19th and Hull’s 2-0 win over Watford means they’re now nine points adrift of safety.
Pathetic Ramirez costs Boro - With his side two-nil down after only 20 minutes, Gaston Ramirez – who shamelessly handed in a transfer request in January – pushed the self destruct button with the most ridiculous foul giving the referee no choice other than to produce a second yellow card. The first booking was utterly embarrassing as he threw himself dramatically to the floor in a bid to win a penalty, but the second was simply needless. The Uruguayan simply has no desire for a relegation fight – as he has highlighted in the past with an ill-fated spell at Hull a couple of seasons ago.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marc Pugh (Bournemouth) - The 30-year-old produced a stunning performance on a landmark day. He was almost untouchable as he created the opener and then got on the score-sheet himself with a cracking solo goal.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Bournemouth crush doomed Boro and move closer to safety