BOURNEMOUTH, England (AP) — Eden Hazard scored the only goal as Chelsea ground out a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth in the English Premier League on Saturday.
The Belgium winger beat Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic at his near post shortly after halftime, and Chelsea moved back within a point of third-placed Tottenham.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte notably opted to leave club captain Gary Cahill on the bench, preferring Antonio Rudiger alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz in Chelsea’s usual three-man central defense.
The move brought the Blues stability early on, and most of the action was at the other end.
Alvaro Morata thought he gave Chelsea the lead as he tapped in from close range before looking up to see the offside flag raised, in what was a marginal call against Azpilicueta.
Morata was denied again five minutes later, this time by Begovic, the former Chelsea stopper.
It was little surprise Morata was involved when Chelsea finally broke the deadlock, although some comical defending from the home side helped.
Simon Francis failed to intercept Morata’s ball over the top before Begovic was left looking sheepish after letting Hazard’s effort sneak in at the near post.
Bournemouth came close but Jordan Ibe’s effort was deflected over the bar by Rudiger, who justified his selection.