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Bournemouth set Premier League points record after big win over fading Brighton

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Goals from Marcos Senesi, Enes Unal and Justin Kluivert fired record-breaking AFC Bournemouth into the top half of the Premier League after a 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Cherries won the battle for south-coast supremacy to beat their own record points haul in the top flight, surpassing the 46 they managed under Eddie Howe in 2016-17.

When Brighton won the reverse fixture at the end of September they moved up to third, while Bournemouth were still searching for their first win under Andoni Iraola. But the Seagulls have now wilted to 12th, their European ambitions well and truly extinguished, while Bournemouth are proving to be the late-season bloomers.

It took them just 13 minutes to take the lead when Lewis Cook swung in corner to the near post, where Unal challenged Brighton teenager Mark O’Mahony. The ball looped up into the six-yard box and Senesi was left with a simple header into the net.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi made seven changes to his line-up following the 4-0 drubbing by Manchester City on Thursday, including full debuts for O’Mahony and Odel Offiah, the nephew of rugby league great Martin Offiah.

They almost hauled themselves level when Facundo Buonanotte jinked past fellow Argentinian Senesi and raced into the box, but his shot was beaten away by Cherries keeper Mark Travers.

However, Bournemouth were by far the more dangerous side and Unal should have doubled their lead on the half hour when the ball was squared to him by Alex Scott. But the Turkish midfielder, making his first Premier League start, scuffed his shot horribly wide.

With Brighton looking shaky at the back, Kluivert found Scott in the penalty area and his drive was deflected over the crossbar. Kluivert was next to try his luck at the start of the second half when he was cleverly played through by Dominic Solanke, but he buried his shot into the side-netting. But the Dutch winger helped create the second in the 52nd minute with a mazy run before finding Dango Ouattara down the left.

Ouattara’s cross from the byline was met by a towering header from Udal, sending the ball back across goal and beyond the dive of Bart Verbruggen. Simon Adingra came closest to pulling one back for Brighton, but his curler was superbly kept out by Travers.

Instead Kluivert had the last word with a fine left-footed finish as Bournemouth, who were languishing in 19th in October, secured another impressive win and a place in the top 10.

PA

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