Leicester City 1:2 Southampton
A Southampton side, unrecognisable from the one that City beat 9-0 eleven weeks ago, earned a 2-1 victory at the KPS on Saturday…
Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side with Choudhury in for the the out-of-form Tielemans.
The Saints looked up for it right from the kick-off pressing hard and forcing City into errors. Their first chance came in the 6th minute when a wayward ball from Barnes set Ings up to beat Söyüncü, for a one-on-one with Schmeichel. The City keeper blocked Ings shot with his legs, and then saved again when Ings collected the rebound and had another go.
Southampton’s intense press almost caught Schmeichel out when Ings charged down a clearance, but the ball rebounded out for a goal kick.
But it was City who took a 15th minute lead. Pérez was fouled in midfield and jumped back to his feet and delivered an instant free-kick down the left. Vardy hared down the wing and delivered a low cross for Praet to tuck away at the far post for his first goal for the club.
But this lead only lasted four minutes. Long played a ball across the 18 yard line and Armstrong stepped inside Chilwell before firing in a shot that took a big deflection off Maddison’s arm, giving Schmeichel no chance.
Schmeichel was in action again in the 28th minute palming away a dipping long range effort from Hojbjerg.
City had the ball in the net on the half hour, but Vardy who was sent in on goal after Ricardo blocked a clearance was clearly offside. We still had to suffer a delay while VAR stuck its oar in.
Southampton were well on top at this stage, with City’s passing game in tatters, and Ings struck the crossbar twice in a minute just before the break. The first when he connected with a low cross at the near post and the second with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
City, who had given the ball away 60 times in the half, with Chilwell accounting for a third of that figure, made it to half time on level terms.
City didn’t look to have improved early in the second half when Bertrand swung in a free-kick from the touchline, and Schmeichel and Chilwell got in each others way allowing Stephens a tap in at the far post. But he didn’t connect properly and Söyüncü hooked it off the goal line.
City began to get into their stride for a spell and Evans got his head to a Maddison corner, but McCarthy reacted well to parry the effort.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 58th minute replacing Barnes with Iheanacho.
The visitors corner were celebrating in the 62nd minute when they thought they had a penalty. A misdirected header from Choudhury saw the Saints break upfield and Söyüncü pushed Long in the back as he shaped to shoot. Lee Mason pointed to the spot and presented Söyüncü with a yellow card. But something was stirring in Stockley Park and, after a long delay, reality was rewound and offside was given.
Five minutes later City had the ball in the net, but after more deliberation it was decided that Iheanacho had been offside when he backheeled the ball home following a free-kick. The linesman had given it and there had been no need for the purple screen of doom.
Gray came on for Pérez and then Tielemans replaced Praet as City went in search of a winner. But it was Southampton who took an 81st minute lead.
A neat passing move through City’s midfield saw a through ball for Ings who poked the ball through Schmeichel’s legs for what proved to be the winner.
Two minutes later Southampton broke upfield again, Redmond squared for Ings whose fierce shot was superbly saved by Schmeichel.
With four minutes remaining Tielemans sent Iheanacho in on the right but his shot was blocked by McCarthy.
For a brief moment it looked as though City had rescued a point in the 89th minute, Evans getting a firm header to a Maddison free-kick. But the celebrations from both players and fans were muted and VAR ruled it out for offside.
VAR may have been right, but there was a rising tide of anger at its constant and lengthy interference. Both sets of fans sang “It’s not football anymore”, and after the game Hamza Choudhury said:“I don’t think many players like it. It takes away the emotions. You see Jonny score an equaliser in the 89th minute and he’s scared to celebrate!”
VAR apart, this may have been City’s worst performance under Brendan Rodgers with Southampton working hard to shut down City’s possession game. Rodgers commented: “It’s a sore one today but we’ll go away, they can recover a little bit now, physically and emotionally, and like we’ve always done whenever we’ve had a defeat, we’ll analyse it, look at the details and we’ll look to improve. The clear week will help us.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Söyüncü, Evans, Chilwell, Choudhury, Pérez (Gray 67), Praet (Tielemans 77), Maddison, Barnes (Iheanacho 58), Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Albrighton, Ward, Benkovic.
Southampton: McCarthy, Cédric Soares, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong (Djenepo 78), Ward-Prowse, Højbjerg, Redmond (Romeu 90), Long (Adams 78), Ings.
Substitutes: Yoshida, Boufal, Obafemi, Gunn.
Referee: Lee Mason. Attendance: 32,115.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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