Arnaut Danjuma's goal gave Bournemouth a 1-0 win against Brentford in their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final, handing them a slim advantage heading into the second leg.
Brentford will feel aggrieved to have not been awarded an early penalty, before Bournemouth spurned a number of fine chances to take a first half lead.
But the Cherries were dealt a blow before the break when captain Steve Cook was taken off injured, and will be a doubt for the vital second leg at Brentford on Saturday.
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Bournemouth responded well though when, 10 minutes after half time, they took the lead. It was a sensational break from the hosts, with Danjuma superbly turning home from David Brooks' cross, before celebrating with the elated fans on their return to the Vitality Stadium.
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Read all the best interviews, previews and stories ahead of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two play-offs.
Brentford had their chances to equalise too, with Bryan Mbeumo missing the most glorious of chances, somehow turning Christian Norgaard's cross past the post of a gaping goal.
The result sees Bournemouth with a slim advantage heading into the second leg as they aim for an instant return to the Premier League. Brentford also have improvements to make to avoid another play-off disappointment.
How Bournemouth secured a slim lead
Brentford began well, and had a penalty shout inside 10 minutes. Tariqe Fosu was caught by Adam Smith in the area, but the referee waved away the claims. Before the game, Brentford manager Thomas Frank had called for VAR to be used in the play-offs, and his point was proved early on.
It was Bournemouth who saw the best of the early chances. Jefferson Lerma sent a volley dipping just wide of the post, before Philip Billing just skewed an effort narrowly wide of the target. The Cherries also found the upright in the 18th minute, Lloyd Kelly fizzing a ball through the area, but Dominic Solanke could only divert the ball behind off the post.
Brentford soon started to see some half chances fall their way. Sergi Canos took aim from 20 yards, but his scuffed shot was seen behind for a corner. Then, Fosu and Ethan Pinnock combined to keep the resultant set-piece alive, but the final touch was sent looping into Asmir Begovic's hands.
But the best chance of the first half came just before the break. Cook - who was injured late in the half - powered a header through the area, forcing a superb save from David Raya. Brooks' follow-up was the blocked by Ivan Toney as Brentford scrambled the danger away.
It was a devastating Bournemouth counter-attack that saw them ahead 10 minutes into the second half. Solanke swept the ball through for Brooks on the right after winning it back near the halfway line. Brooks then squared a sensational ball into the area and the ever-confident Danjuma was there to fire wonderfully past Raya before wheeling away to celebrate with the smattering of fans in the stands.
But Brentford responded well, and went close very soon after. A superb touch from Mbeumo in the middle saw the ball clearly at Mathias Jensen's feet, but the Dane could only power his effort into the side of the net. Begovic was then called into a superb save from Emiliano Marcondes from close range.
It was Mbeumo who then missed a sensational chance in the 78th minute. Norgaard squared the ball through for him but in the best position possible, he could only steer the ball past the post. "I'd love to give you a reason for the miss, but I just can't," Sky Sports' Don Goodman said on co-commentary.
As the game drew to a conclusion, both sides pushed for another goal. Raya made a sensational save from a Danjuma free kick before scrambling across in the final minute to stop an audacious Billing effort from handing Bournemouth a 2-0 lead heading into Saturday's second leg.
Man of the match - Arnaut Danjuma
It was a wonderful performance from the Bournemouth winger. Of course, Danjuma scored the vital goal for his side but was involved in a lot of the Cherries' good attacking play. He should have had a second too when his free kick was tipped superbly over the bar by Raya.
What the managers said...
Bournemouth's Jonathan Woodgate: "I thought we performed really well right from the start. Absolutely outstanding on the counter-attack. Listen, it's half time. We go into half time with a 1-0 lead and it's far from over. They are an exceptional team, so we need to be right at it next Saturday.
"It could have been more, but you take 1-0 before the game. I thought they implemented the game plan well, thought we looked dangerous throughout. We now need to go and put in a professional performance against a really good team."
Brentford's Thomas Frank: "I thought it was a very intense and even game between two good sides that try to get on top of the match. I think, in the first half, Bournemouth were slightly better than us, but it was still very even and in the second half, I thought we were the better side, so overall an even contest. I think a draw, maybe, is the result it should have been, but in these tight games it's always the fine margins.
"I think we made one mistake with their goal; we knew they would come on the counter. I think we lost the structure for a split-second and that was enough for them to get the goal. Besides that, I loved the response and the chance for Bryan Mbeumo doesn't get any bigger. We are in it and we knew before today, winning or losing, it will be decided on Saturday, so we are ready for that."
The second leg will take place at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday, May 22 at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Football.