Hegazi header earns West Brom victory

West Brom celebrated Tony Pulis signing a new contract with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth to open their 2017-18 Premier League campaign.

West Brom 1 Bournemouth 0: Hegazi header earns Pulis all three points

West Brom celebrated Tony Pulis signing a new contract with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth to open their 2017-18 Premier League campaign.

Ahmed Hegazi scored on his West Brom debut as Tony Pulis' side opened the new Premier League season with a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Hawthorns.

The Egypt centre-back, who joined on loan from Al Ahly last month, headed in from close range just after the half-hour mark to ensure the home side were able to celebrate their head coach signing a one-year contract extension with three points.

Pulis agreed terms to extend his stay with the club until 2019 on Friday, and it was back to business 24 hours later as West Brom continued the theme of the previous campaign by displaying trademark defensive steel coupled with set-piece prowess.

Jay Rodriguez, another off-season arrival for the Baggies, had gone close on a couple of occasions prior to Hegazi's header, while Bournemouth looked uncharacteristically bereft of attacking verve in their quest for an equaliser.

Even the introduction of Jermain Defoe, making his second debut for the club 17 years on from a record-breaking loan spell from West Ham, could not inspire the Cherries as they fell to a disappointing defeat.

READ MORE: West Brom v Bournemouth - how the match unfolded

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Rodriguez was preferred to Salomon Rondon in attack for the hosts and he almost marked his bow with a goal in the ninth minute, Asmir Begovic saving smartly from the striker's snap-shot.

After an injury-ravaged couple of seasons, Rodriguez was looking full of vim and vigour in his new surroundings and stung the palms of Begovic with a rasping drive before bending a measured effort agonisingly wide of the far post midway through the half.

West Brom were much the better side and made their dominance pay in the 31st minute as Chris Brunt swung a right-wing free-kick to the back post, where Hegazi rose to head through the legs of Begovic and in.

Hegazi posed further problems from another set-piece five minutes before the break as his flick-on found Claudio Yacob, who could only steer a sharp chance across the face of goal. 

The Argentinian went close again early in the second period with a header into the side-netting as the Baggies continued to pose a threat from dead balls.

Bournemouth improved slightly thereafter, Nathan Ake sending a header straight at Ben Foster before becoming the victim of an apparent stamp from Craig Dawson that could prompt retrospective action - the only blot on an otherwise satisfactory day for Pulis and the Baggies.

Key Opta stats

  • West Bromwich Albion have won successive opening day fixtures in league football for the first time since 1992.

  • Bournemouth have lost all three of their opening day fixtures in the Premier League, losing 1-0 to Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa in 2015, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United 3-1 last year and to Tony Pulis’ WBA today (0-1).

  • The Baggies had 28.8% possession in this match – the 15thoccasion that WBA have had less than 30% possession in a Premier League game under Tony Pulis. Of those 15, they’ve won six.

  • WBA’s Rekeem Harper was only the second player born this century (08/03/2000) to play in the Premier League, after Man Utd’s Angel Gomes on the final day of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

  • Chris Brunt has provided 14 assists direct from dead ball scenarios in the Premier League since August 2014; more than any other player during this period.

  • Ahmed Hegazi is the first West Brom player to score on his Premier League debut since Thievy in February 2014.

  • With Ahmed Hegazi’s goal added to Mohamed Salah’s strike for Liverpool earlier in the day, it was the first time in the Premier League that two Egyptians have scored on the same day in the competition since November 1st2008 (Mido & Zaki).

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