Alonso double spares Chelsea from Bournemouth defeat

BOURNEMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) – Marcos Alonso continued his goalscoring run in the Premier League with a double as Chelsea fought back in a 2-2 draw away to struggling Bournemouth late on Saturday.

A share of the spoils preserved Chelsea’s place among the top four, with defender Alonso opening the scoring with a well-struck volley after Olivier Giroud had hit the bar with an acrobatic flick.

But Bournemouth were level in the 54th minute through Jefferson Lerma’s header and three minutes later the Cherries were in front thanks to a goal from Josh King.

Alonso, however, denied the Cherries a valuable win when he headed home five minutes from time after Aaron Ramsdale had parried Pedro Rodriguez’s shot.

The draw did at least spare Chelsea from a second defeat in a matter of days following their humbling 3-0 loss at home to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie last week.

Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso celebrates with team-mate Pedro after scoring his side’s first goal against Bournemouth. PHOTO: AP

“We expected a fight and they gave us a difficult game but we should win the game, we had a lot of possession and chances,” said Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.

“The character of the team was great, it wasn’t for the want of trying but we need more goals.”

Alonso has now scored three goals in two Premier League matches, his Dean Court double following a fine finish in a win over Tottenham Hotspur.

“Marcos Alonso has had a big week but I don’t want my left-back top of the scoring charts,” insisted former Chelsea and England midfielder Lampard. “I want our attackers scoring goals and they haven’t.

“The way the season has panned out, we should be pleased that we are fourth but it means nothing at this stage. If we manage to get in the top four the achievement is huge but we are a long way from that yet.”

Chelsea have now won just five of their last 16 league games.

Bournemouth were left two points above the relegation zone and the south coast side could have put even greater distance between themselves and the bottom three had not midfielder Philip Billing spurned two fine chances in the opening five minutes.

“It’s a glass half full day, we were 1-0 down and it’s hard to come back against these types of teams,” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe told Sky Sports. “We need to get points. We have lost some narrow games so hopefully this is a turning point.”