Ranieri’s bravery pays off as Leicester battle to victory at Norwich

Norwich City 1:2 Leicester City

2015-16 norwich away

City won a hard-fought three points with a 2-1 win against Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his side with Fuchs and Simpson at left and right back, and Schlupp moved forward, meaning one of the Premier League’s best performers, Riyad Mahrez, was dropped.

It was brave, and it paid off.

Norwich, playing in front of a record all-seated attendance at Carrow Road, had the first chance which Jerome sent over the bar.

A good move involving Drinkwater and Albrighton created City’s first opportunity but Okazaki’s header was off-target.

Vardy then found the side-netting with an angled drive, but didn’t have long to wait for his first goal.

In the 26th minute Vardy’s raw pace saw him get ahead of Bassong as they chased a Kanté pass and the defender couldn’t apply the brakes in time to stop himself bringing the England striker down.

Vardy crashed the spot-kick home himself to the delight of the travelling fans, his 7th goal of the season.

Schlupp was then inches away from extending City’s lead moments later, but couldn’t quite reach Albrighton’s cross.

Tettey then made a vital interception to deny Okazaki as City enjoyed a very good spell up to the break.

Norwich started the second half in determined fashion, putting Schmeichel’s goal under pressure with a series of high balls, but after a couple of minutes of this City broke rapidly to make it 2-0.

Schlupp charged down the left and played off Kanté before drilling the ball past Ruddy with a cleverly delayed shot.

Benalouane then replaced cramp victim Simpson, while Norwich increased their presence up front with the introduction of Mbokani, who soon planted a header against the bar.

In the 68th minute Mbokani sprang the offside trap to head a Brady ball, unmarked, past Schmeichel to set up an uncomfortable closing twenty minutes for the visitors.

Ulloa replaced Okazaki and soon found the net with a header, but his joyful celebrations in front of the Leicester fans were cut short by the ref’s whistle, Clattenburg having spotted an earlier Huth shove.

So it was a nail-biting closing period, made worse when Vardy appeared to have jarred his knee, but he carried on after some treatment and then fired an effort just wide (causing outrage among the home fans).

Despite plenty of pressure, City saw out 6 minutes of time added on to claim a fine victory and return to the top four.

Claudio Ranieri explained his team selection: “I left Mahrez out because I wanted to put him on in the second half, but the match was different and it was good for us, and for Mahrez to get a rest for one match. It is okay, he can never play 38 matches.”

Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Howson, Jerome (Lafferty 77), Brady, Hoolahan, Jarvis (Mbokani 59), Dorrans (Redmond 50), Tettey. Subs Not Used: Rudd, Olsson, Bennett, O’Neil.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Drinkwater, Morgan, Huth, Vardy, Albrighton, Kante, Schlupp (King 77), Simpson (Benalouane 65), Okazaki (Ulloa 70), Fuchs. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, De Laet, Mahrez, Inler.

Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 27,067.

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