Leicester City 0:0 Southampton
(Leicester 6:5 Southampton on penalties)
After a 90 minute stalemate, a Danny Ward penalty save in the shoot-out saw City into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Claude Puel made nine changes to his side for this fourth round tie, though it was still a strong looking side with Vardy starting; while Mark Hughes made five changes, employing a back five.
City had a decent start with an early corner and a close offside call for a Vardy, but the game soon settled into deadlock with both sides cancelling each other out.
Söyüncü was an impressive presence at the back, though Ward wouldn’t have thanked him for a couple of fizzing back-passes. Gray went on some decent runs, but City couldn’t find a telling pass. Obafemi, with number 61 on his back, was a threat for the Saints when they broke forward.
The first shot on target came after 20 minutes, but it was a tame effort from Silva and Gunn gathered easily. A minute later Ward saved well from Obafemi after the Saints hit on the counter.
Vestergaard headed onto the roof of the net from a corner and Ndidi fired a shot well over, and it was uninspired stuff for the fans who had left their firesides on a chilly night.
Southampton applied some pressure late in the half, but could have gone a goal behind seconds before the whistle. As Vardy attempted to play Diabate in, Vestergaard intercepted the ball, which then went narrowly wide of the post.
But a 0-0 scoreline at half-time reflected the game.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with City sending passes astray as frustration grew.
Claude Puel made his first changes on the hour bringing Okazaki and Mendy on for Gray and Silva. Things didn’t immediately improve and Saints should have gone ahead in the 64th minute. Redmond strode forward, and rounded Söyüncü and fired a shot against the underside of the bar. Obafemi had an open goal with Ward grounded but somehow managed to miss the target.
Ward then got down well to a Hojbjerg shot as the visitors kept knocking at the door.
Diabate had a couple of shots, one was blocked by Stephens and another deflected into the keeper’s arms.
Okazaki had a shot on the turn that was straight at Gunn, before Puel brought Albrighton on for Diabate with 12 minutes remaining.
Gray capped a good run with a shot that went narrowly wide, but the game seemed to be heading lamely towards penalties, until some late excitement thanks to VAR.
In the 82nd minute Davis netted what would surely have been the winner and the Saints players went over to celebrate with their fans. But the screens flashed up that VAR was in operation and there was a tense wait before it came to the conclusion that Redmond had handled in the build up to the goal.
With the home crowd chanting “VAR VAR VAR” City had fresh impetus and went on the attack. There were shouts for a penalty when it appeared that Evans had been shoved over in the area, but after another wait a goal kick was awarded.
VAR was then booed.
Six minutes of injury (and VAR) time was added and Saints almost won it at the death but Ward managed to tip Gabbiadini’s free kick onto the bar at full stretch.
So penalties it was…
Davis put Saints ahead, Fuchs levelled, and then Hojbjerg sent Ward the wrong way for 2-1. Albrighton crashed his down the middle and then Redmond also sent Ward the wrong way. Söyüncü halted during his run up, but stuck it away coolly for 3-3.
Ward got something on Vestergaard’s effort but couldn’t keep it out, before Gray levelled at 4-4. Cedric fired his high into the net, before Vardy blasted home for 5-5 and a perfect 10.
Just when we were thinking it could be a long night, Ward saved the first sudden-death penalty from Gabbiadini…
Mendy stepped up for the next one and drilled it home, sending City in a quarter-final showdown with Manchester City.
It hadn’t been a great performance from City, but a much-changed side had progressed in the cup against a Premier League side, and that would do.
Leicester: Ward, Simpson, Söyüncü, Evans, Fuchs, Diabaté, Albrighton 78), Silva (Mendy 61), Ndidi, Gray, Iheanacho (Okazaki 61), Vardy.
Substitutes: Morgan, Ricardo, Jakupovic, Leshabela.
Southampton: Gunn, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Stephens, Valery, Højbjerg, Lemina,
Armstrong (Davis 73), Targett (Cédric Soares 61), Redmond, Obafemi (Gabbiadini 89).
Substitutes: McCarthy, Hoedt, Austin, Ward-Prowse.
Referee: R East. Attendance: 22,150.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
FOX 210 will be out next week and is dedicated to the memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabh and the others who died in the tragedy at the King Power Stadium.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed and we hope it is a fitting tribute.
If you want to order a copy you can do so HERE and it will be posted out to you on publication day.