Tony Pulis celebrated signing an extended contract in the best possible fashion as West Brom began the new Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at The Hawthorns.
Pulis, who will now remain as Baggies boss until 2019 after putting pen to paper on a new deal on Friday, saw new signing Ahmed Hegazi head the only goal of the game in what was an impressive introduction to English football for the central defender.
Another summer arrival, Jay Rodriguez, also made a strong first impression on his debut, particularly early on. The £12million summer signing from Southampton, beset by injury issues in recent seasons, looked fit and mobile and had a handful of attempts inside the first 25 minutes.
Even the second-half introduction of Jermain Defoe could not help the Cherries find a breakthrough and the closest they came to a goal was Benik Afobe’s first-half header which flashed narrowly wide.
What they saidWest Brom manager Tony Pulis: “We need players to improve us to give us a better opportunity and a better chance to do well. We’ve got 17 senior professionals – and some of them are towards the older end of the scale. The team needs to be given a lift, everyone does, the team, the supporters. They were fantastic, the supporters today, I thought they were brilliant.”Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “We were too slow and too predictable and West Brom were really effective in what they did. There’s a lot of stuff for us to go away and work on and hopefully we’ll come back better next week.”
Tweet of the match
Star man – Ahmed Hegazi
Hegazi made an impressive start to life in English football. Strong and athletic, the centre-half, on a season-long loan from Egyptian champions Al Ahly, looks built for the Premier League. He immediately struck up a solid partnership with Craig Dawson and was a threat in the opposition goalmouth, as his goal demonstrated.
Moment of the match
In a game which finished 1-0, it is only natural to pick the goal as the highlight. After Josh King fouled Allan Nyom out on the right, Chris Brunt delivered a free-kick to the far post and Hegazi’s downward header from three yards out found the net.
It was only the second time in seven attempts that West Brom have won when playing at The Hawthorns on the opening day of the season.
Player ratingsWest Brom: Ben Foster 7, Allan Nyom 7, Craig Dawson 7, Ahmed Hegazi 8, Chris Brunt 6, Claudio Yacob 6, Matt Phillips 6, Sam Field 7, Jake Livermore 6, James McClean 6, Jay Rodriguez 7. Substitutes: Rekeem Harper (for Field, 70) 5, Hal Robson-Kanu (for Phillips, 72) 5.Bournemouth: Asmir Begovic 6, Simon Francis 6, Steve Cook 6, Nathan Ake 6, Charlie Daniels 6, Ryan Fraser 6, Andrew Surman 5, Harry Arter 7, Marc Pugh 6, Joshua King 7, Benik Afobe 6. Substitutes: Jordan Ibe (for Pugh, 46) 5, Jermain Defoe (for Afobe, 64) 5, Adam Smith (for Francis, 80) 5.
Who’s up next?
Burnley v West Brom (Premier League, August 19)
Bournemouth v Watford (Premier League, August 19)