Neil Etheridge and the rest of Cardiff City Football Club may have been excited for their 2018-2019 English Premier League opener away to A.F.C. Bournemouth but a 0-2 defeat gave their campaign a bad start.
Etheridge, the first South East Asian and Filipino to compete in the Premier League, had his work cut out for him because of the home side’s pressure. Cardiff struggled to make any successful foray into the Bournemouth box and its goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic was virtually a bystander in the first half.
Bournemouth finally got the lead it deserved at the 24th minute. The home side’s fine passing allowed it to breach Cardiff’s defense and Scotland midfielder Ryan Fraser shot past Etheridge to hand his side the lead.
Nevertheless, the Azkals stalwart’s time to shine came at the 34th minute. Cardiff City conceded a penalty and Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson stepped up to take the spot-kick. Etheridge then performed a fine save to deny Wilson what would have been Bournemouth’s second goal in the game.
With his save, Etheridge became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in his Premier League debut in five years.
Cardiff became more incisive in the second half. The Welsh club went close to an equalizer almost halfway through the period but the Bluebirds failed to find the back of the net from a set-piece.
The improved approach forced Etheridge to be inactive for long periods but the Filipino was alert to thwart of any sniff of danger from Bournemouth’s forwards. Unfortunately, Wilson made up for his early penalty miss with a goal of his own deep into stoppage time.
In the end, Cardiff failed to meaningfully threaten Bournemouth in the contest to earn something from it but Etheridge can be pleased with his decent afternoon highlighted by his penalty save.
Etheridge and Cardiff City hope to claim their first win of the season at home against Newcastle United. Both teams will be eager to recover from their respective losses. That match shall be played on August 18, 7:30 PM Philippine time.
— Lorenzo Del Carmen (@LorenzoDelC) August 11, 2018