Brighton & Hove Albion 0:2 Leicester City
City shrugged off a late penalty award and the dismissal of Wilfred Ndidi to win at the Amex for the first time on Saturday afternoon…
Claude Puel made one change to his starting line-up with Okazaki in for Iheanacho, while the Seagulls couldn’t field the suspended Knockaert or the on-loan Ulloa.
A very poor first half unfolded, with Brighton looking the more threatening.
Locadia sliced an effort when well placed, Izquierdo just failed to reach a cross, and Morgan picked up an early yellow for a foul on Propper.
Ndidi followed his skipper into the ref’s notebook, before Murray fired a shot over the bar.
The first real chance of the game arrived in the 37th minute, when a ball from Locadia sent Murray in on goal down the right channel, but his normally deadly finishing deserted him and he steered the ball wide of the right hand post.
Despite offering very little, City managed to go in at the break on level terms, and things could surely only get better.
Or maybe not. A minute into the second half a Morgan error presented Gross with a long range shooting opportunity which Schmeichel did well to tip over at full stretch.
Maguire then did well to snuff out a run from Izquierdo as City continued to play on the back foot.
Claude Puel made his first change in the 56th minute, bringing Diabaté on for Okazaki but things didn’t improve.
Chilwell, Simpson and Maguire were all booked within a short spell, meaning that the entire defence and defensive midfielder were all on a knife edge.
By the 71st minute Diabaté was beginning to make things happen, and his cross found Vardy in the middle, but his attempted back-heel didn’t work.
But Brighton’s big moment finally arrived in the 76th minute, when Ndidi fouled Izquierdo in the area and Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot.
Murray planted his kick to Schmeichel’s left, but the City keeper guessed right and tipped it round the post for a fine save.
Gray replaced Albrighton soon after this let off, and City began to press forward at last.
They then delighted their 3,000 + followers, taking an 83rd minute lead.
Chilwell lofted a ball in from the left and Iborra found some space in the area to nod it home past Ryan from 10 yards.
With Brighton desperately seeking an equaliser, Ndidi and Duffy contested a 50-50 ball and it looked as though the City man won it with a fair side-footed challenge.
Ndidi threw himself to the ground in a rage when Kavanagh judged it worthy of a second yellow and City had to see out the game with ten men.
Schmeichel saved March’s resulting free-kick, tipping it over the bar.
Brighton then went close from a corner during the 5 minutes of time-added-on, when Bong missed a far post sitter with an eyes shut, head down header, but his blushes were spared as the ref spotted a foul on Schmeichel.
Instead, it was City who added to the scoreline in the dying seconds. Gray beat his marker down the right and his low cross to the far post was met with a perfectly timed run by Vardy, to seal what had looked like a highly unlikely win.
Claude Puel summed up: “The first half was poor, we didn’t come back from the international break. It was difficult, it was slow and we were without tempo, rhythm and aggressiveness. It was a fantastic save from Kasper and it changed the situation of the game. It gave us a good feeling and desire to continue to believe and for the opponent it was opposite. It wasn’t a fantastic game for us in terms of play but the result is very crucial.”
Brighton: Ryan, Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Pröpper, Locadia (March 75). Groß, Kayal (Baldock 84), Izquierdo, Murray.
Substitutes: Bruno, Baldock, Hemed, Goldson, March, Krul, Suttner.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez (Fuchs 85), Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton (Gray 79), Okazaki (Diabaté 56), Vardy.
Substitutes: Iheanacho, Silva, Dragovic, Jakupovic.
Referee: C Kavanagh. Attendance: 30,629.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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