Leicester City 1:2 Southampton
City were unable to convert possession into goals on Saturday, allowing ten-man Southampton to leave the King Power with three points.
Claude Puel made eight changes to the side that lost at Newport, with three defensive midfielders against struggling Southampton, and the recalled Harvey Barnes starting on the bench.
City got off to a tentative start, and after Southampton had threatened a couple of times they took a 10th minute lead. Long had his back to goal on the edge of the area when Mendy put in a clumsy and needless challenge that bundled him over.
Ward-Prowse’s spot-kick had the pace to beat Schmeichel despite the City keeper guessing right.
With a precious lead Southampton were content to defend, but City were ponderous going forward with many passes going astray.
Saints always looked capable of a dangerous break and Maddision picked up a yellow card in the 20th minute for hauling back Redmond.
As the visitors attacked down the right Valery then went over in the area, for an obvious dive. Referee Michael Oliver took no action, leaving Maguire and Chilwell outraged.
City were really struggling to put anything meaningful together and on the few occasions Southampton went forward they looked more threatening, Schmeichel having to save from a Stephens header.
City’s first chance came in the 33rd minute when Chilwell crossed for Maguire who headed wide.
Moments later Chilwell was floored by a studs up challenge from Valery, and reacted angrily, with both players being booked.
City went close to an equaliser in the 35th minute when Morgan hit a shot from close in, but Bednarek managed to block it on the line.
As City chased the game up to the break Maguire sent a header off target and Choudhury had a shot blocked.
Southampton were then reduced to ten men in time-added-on as Valery, who seemed determined to get sent off, fouled Albrighton twice in three seconds and was duly shown a red card.
But there was a sting in the tail of this half. A poor Ricardo header and stumble from Mendy allowed Long in down the left channel and his attempted curler across the keeper was helped into the net by Schmeichel’s touch.
Boos rang around the ground at the half time whistle.
Claude Puel made two changes for the second half with Barnes and Gray replacing Mendy and Albrighton. But Southampton, a man down and with a two goal lead, had abandoned all attacking intentions and formed a tortoise shell around the penalty area.
It was like a defence v attack training game.
A long range Maguire shot deflected off Barnes but McCarthy adjusted well to make the save. Maddison was the next to attempt a shot from distance but it didn’t test McCarthy.
Maddison then sent a free-kick from a good position into the wall before skying the rebound over the bar.
The breakthrough finally came in the 58th minute when Ricardo got in behind the defence down the right, and cut back for Ndidi who improvised a finish with his thigh at an awkward height.
Three minutes later Vardy went over in the area, though replays showed this to be a blatant dive and he was lucky to escape a yellow card.
City went forward relentlessly, either through Gray and Ricardo combining down the right, or Chilwell and Barnes down the left, but no one could produce a killer cross and Vestergaard must have been punch drunk with all the clearing headers he produced.
For all the pressure, Southampton’s goal was hardly under siege.
With 14 minutes remaining Puel made his final change, Ghezzal on for Choudhury, but still City didn’t look capable of breaking the stubborn resistance.
Maddison and Ndidi both sent long range efforts flying over the bar, while Barnes had a volley blocked.
Morgan and Maguire moved forward, and then Schmeichel came up for the corners, but even an eleven man attack couldn’t get past Southampton’s ten men and the final whistle heralded another home defeat by a struggling side.
There was loud booing from a hugely frustrated home crowd.
Claude Puel commented: “I think the fans are disappointed like us. It is normal.
Other things are not my concern, only to keep my concentration and focus on the team, and to have the right reaction in the next game.”
Before the game, there was the extraordinary sight of a lady supporter having an A4 size ‘PUEL OUT’ message confiscated by a steward. If this policy is to be enforced the stewards may find themselves very busy in the coming weeks…
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Choudhury (Ghezzal 76), Mendy (Barnes 45), Ndidi, Albrighton (Gray 45), Vardy, Maddison.
Substitutes: Simpson, Söyüncü, Iheanacho, Ward.
Southampton: McCarthy, Bednarek, Stephens, Vestergaard, Valery, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Targett, Redmond (Gallagher 90), Armstrong (Cédric Soares 57), Long (Slattery 76).
Substitutes: Elyounoussi, Gunn, Sims, Ramsay.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 31,491.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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