Leicester City 0:0 Southampton
Leicester and Southampton battled to a goalless draw at the KPS on Sunday afternoon…
Claudio Ranieri made one change to the side that played Porto for this 2.15 Sunday afternoon kick-off, with Danny Simpson reclaiming his right-back berth.
Although in-form Southampton were on Europa League duty on Thursday night, Claude Puel changed half his side for this game.
It was a tight encounter, and though Mahrez has a shot blocked in the first chance of the game, the Saints hit back. Austin sent a header straight at Schmeichel when well placed, and then fired an angled drive past Schmeichel that struck the inside of the far post.
City were gifted a chance on the half hour when an under hit Van Dijk backpass sent Vardy through on Forster. Vardy hesitated for a split second which allowed the Saints keeper to shepherd him towards Romeu, who blocked the effort on goal. Romeu then blocked the follow up shot from Slimani, and then another one from Vardy and the chance was gone.
The game reached deadlock before half time, with only a couple of noteworthy incidents. Romeu knocked Slimani off the ball, to loud penalty appeals, but it didn’t look worthy of a spot-kick.
Mahrez then sent a shot off-target, in a final act that summed up the half.
Not much happened for a while after the break either. Mahrez was booked for taking a free kick before the ref was ready, and when he delivered it again Slimani was offside.
Saints then had a good spell, Redmond slipped through the City defence but sent in a weak shot which Schmeichel easily gathered. Austin also had a golden opportunity, but elected to chip Schmeichel without looking up, and the City keeper had advanced far enough for another easy save.
At the other end, Drinkwater fired off a couple of shots, but one found the side-netting from a tight angle and the other didn’t test Forster.
Claudio Ranieri made his first changes in the 66th minute, bringing Gray and Okazaki for Albrighton and Vardy, and things got more lively.
A Huth header forced a good save from Forster, before Gray crossed for Okazaki who produced an inventive angled header that went inches wide of the far post.
Ulloa replaced Slimani for the last 12 minutes, but was unable to repeat the late heroics of last season, sending his only chance high and wide.
It was a hard-fought game, but neither side had produced enough to gain the three points.
Claudio Ranieri admitted: “I’m very happy because I recognise Southampton played better than us and they deserved to win. Maybe it is harder to think about, when we play every three days. Maybe at the end of the 22 days, was much better to give some rest to some players.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Amartey, Drinkwater, Mahrez, Albrighton (Gray 66), Vardy (Okazaki 66), Slimani (Ulloa 78). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, Schlupp, King.
Southampton: Forster, Cedric (Martina 27), Fonte, Davis, Austin (Ward-Prowse 83), Tadic (Long 71), Romeu, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Redmond, Hojbjerg. Subs Not Used: Yoshida, Clasie, McCarthy, Olomola.
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 31,563.