LONDON (Reuters) - First-half goals by Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew put Crystal Palace on the way to a 2-0 victory at Bournemouth in the first Premier League match screened live by the BBC on Saturday.
Milivojevic curled home a stunning free kick after 12 minutes and Ayew’s cool finish 10 minutes later left relegation-haunted Bournemouth facing an uphill task.
The BBC, which usually only shows highlights, reached agreement to screen four top-flight games live as an unprecedented season resumes behind closed doors after a three-month stoppage because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was not classic Saturday evening viewing for fans watching at home but Palace were much the better side as they enhanced their hopes of qualifying for Europe.
Roy Hodgson’s side moved into ninth place with 42 points, four points behind fifth-placed Manchester United.
Bournemouth remain third-from-bottom on goal difference with 27 points, the same total as West Ham United who are one place above the drop zone after losing to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
To make matters worse for Eddie Howe’s side, striker Joshua King hobbled off with an ankle injury after a tackle by Milivojevic that was checked by VAR.
Palace have never finished higher than 10th in the Premier League but in their first fixture since the resumption of the season they looked impressively sharp.
“A perfect night for us, we cannot have imagined a better beginning after a big break,” Milivojevic said.
“It is not easy to continue after a break but it is great tonight to come here against a good team to win 2-0 and so happy to be honest. (European football) is possible, we are not far from it and the last few seasons we have been looking behind.”
Bournemouth have now lost four of their last five Premier League games and face some anxious weeks ahead in their battle to secure a sixth successive season in the top flight.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis