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West Brom end Leicester’s unbeaten home run

Leicester City 1:2 West Bromwich Albion

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League, 6 November 2016

City’s Remembrance Day fixture saw the end of a 14 month unbeaten home run, with West Brom claiming all three points at the KPS on Sunday evening…

Former City player Howard Riley delivered the match ball before the Last Post was accompanied by a superb tifo display of giant poppies in all four stands.

Claudio Ranieri made five changes to the side that drew in Copenhagen with Zieler, Simpson, King, Okazaki and Slimani in the starting XI.
But it was the visitors, without a win in five games, who carved out the first chance.
Phillips burst through a group of four blue shirts down right inside channel and flashed a shot across goal which Zieler got a slight touch to, to divert it just past the far post.
The City keeper then took a little too long in clearing a backpass, and struck the onrushing Rondon, but the rebound sailed harmlessly over the bar.
In a busy opening quarter of an hour for the German keeper he then had to be swiftly off his line to tackle Brunt, who had been sent in on goal by Morrision.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League, 6 November 2016

City were struggling to make much of an impression on the game, a Fuchs cross proving too far from Slimani for him to direct his header was about the only half chance of a very poor first half performance.

Vardy replaced Okazaki at half time and raised the atmosphere for a while, chasing down Evans to gain a corner, but it was West Brom who took the lead seven minutes into the second half. A sweeping cross-field move ended with Rondon crossing from the right and Morrison directing a fine header beyond Zieler from 8 yards.
The small, but noisy, band of away fans were in raptures, but they were silenced just three minutes later.
City, seemingly provoked into action by going a goal down, broke upfield. Slimani swung a ball out to Mahrez on the right and he cut inside and delivered a cross to the edge of the six yard box where Slimani just evaded being offside to head home unopposed from close in.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League, 6 November 2016

City’s momentum continued. King sent Musa though on the left but he squared for Vardy, when a shot was surely on, and a touch from Evans sent it behind the City striker.
It was all City now, with everything going to Mahrez to attack Albion’s left flank, but a new option was introduced when Gray replaced Musa in the 66th minute.
But then the tide turned again and the Baggies had an attacking spell. Zieler saved from a Dawson header, and Simpson cleared off the line from the resulting corner. In the 72nd minute Albion regained their lead.
Drinkwater’s wayward backpass sent Phillips through on goal. He outpaced Morgan, before a delicate chip over Zieler nestled into the back of the net.
City set about the task of finding another equaliser, but it was too predictable. Ball out to Mahrez on the right, plucked out of the air by his magic foot, stepover, beat the full-back, deliver the cross. But they were being gobbled up by the West Brom defence, and when King did find himself some room for a header it was straight at Foster.
West Brom were in full-on time-wasting mode by now. Both goal celebrations had been co-ordinated to take up as much time as possible (possibly on the training ground) and now Foster was taking an age with each goal kick, and Brunt was booked for kicking the ball away at a free-kick.
They needn’t have worried. City couldn’t couldn’t summon much in 5 minutes of time added on, and for the first time since September 2015, they had lost a league game at home.

Claudio Ranieri commented: “I am very sorry we lost our unbeaten record at home. We knew it would be a tough match against West Brom. The first half was not good. We try to have a plan but it was difficult to do this, the second half was much better but we lost the match. We made a plan to go on the flank and make crosses from the flank. But we made very few and also we made some long balls and for the central defenders it was too easy. To say something is easy, to do it is more difficult. Maybe we had Champions League fatigue, I don’t know.”

Leicester: Zieler, Simpson, Huth (Ulloa 87), Morgan, Fuchs, King, Drinkwater, Musa (Gray 67), Mahrez, Okazaki (Vardy 46), Slimani. Subs Not Used: Hamer, Schlupp, Amartey, Albrighton.
Albion: Foster, Nyom, Yacob, Evans, Morrison (Robson-Kanu 90), Rondon, Phillips (Gardner 83), Brunt, McAuley, Fletcher, Dawson. Subs Not Used: Myhill, Galloway, Leko, Field, Wilson. 
Referee: C Pawson. Attendance: 31,879. 

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 




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Night of near-misses as West Brom frustrate Leicester

Leicester City 2:2 West Bromwich Albion

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

City had to be content with a point from a fine performance at the KPS on Tuesday night, as West Brom kept out a second half onslaught for a 2-2 draw…

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his starting line-up with Simpson back from suspension, and King replacing the injured Kanté.
City went for the visitors right from the kick off and the opening spell saw a Drinkwater shot blocked by McAuley and King going close after he was set up by Huth.
But it was West Brom who were to take the lead in the 11th minute as City conceded their first goal at home in 2016. A slide-rule Fletcher through-ball saw Huth uncharacteristically out-muscled by Rondon, who then fired a shot home through Schmeichel’s legs.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

City, roared on by another sell-out crowd, pressed forward in search of an equaliser. Okazaki got onto the end of a Huth header, but sent his shot from close in over the bar.
The Japanese striker then neatly beat Fletcher to set himself up but his composure then deserted him for the shot.
Vardy got his head to a Mahrez cross but didn’t test Foster in Albion’s goal.
City’s equaliser arrived just after the half hour and, although deserved, it had a touch of fortune to it. King squared to Drinkwater some 25 yards out and his fierce shot struck Olsson and looped over Foster into the net.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

City nearly went ahead 5 minutes later when Drinkwater crossed for Vardy, but the England striker’s header smacked against the crossbar.
For all City dominance Albion still looked dangerous on their occasional breaks and Morgan blocked a goal-bound Rondon shot.
City finally took the lead their play had deserved in the last minute of the half, when a fine Mahrez ball from the right was steered home by King.

If everything had been going to plan at the break, City soon suffered a setback in the second half when the Baggies summoned up a 49th minute equaliser.
Gardner was perhaps offered a little too much of the left hand side of the goal as he lined up to take a 25 yard free-kick, and duly curled it into the top left hand corner.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, FA Premier League, 01 March 2016

From then on it was a case of City throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Albion in the desperate search for a winning goal.
Okazaki repeated Vardy’s first half trick, heading against the bar from close range.
An inspired Albrighton then sent a series of crosses over from the left, but Albion were winning the aerial battle.
In the 63rd minute Albrighton and Okazaki made way for Schlupp and Ulloa and the crosses continued to rain in.
Foster produced a fine save from a Schlupp shot, before hearts were in mouths at the other end as Rondon couldn’t find the target at close range.
Vardy then pickpocketed the ball from McAuley out on the touchline, and raced towards goal, but his low shot was well saved by Foster.
From the corner, Huth sent a header inches wide of the right hand post.
A couple of shots from Gardner went close, but most of the increasingly frantic action centred on Albion’s goal. Vardy and Schlupp both had shots blocked, Foster saved from Morgan and then Mahrez attempted an audacious overhead kick that sadly didn’t come off.
City couldn’t repeat the last minute winner from Saturday, and title hopes were dented by the loss of two points at home. However, it had been a magnificent performance and City had gone three points clear at the top.

Claudio Ranieri wasn’t downcast: “Four points from two difficult matches, it is fantastic. We are alive and our spirit is ready to fight again. I am happy, not that we didn’t get the three points, you can’t always get the three points, but our performance was fantastic.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs (Gray 79), Drinkwater, King, Albrighton (Schlupp 63), Mahrez, Okazaki (Ulloa 63), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Amartey, Wasilewski, Inler.
Albion: Foster, Olsson, Chester, Yacob, McAuley, Dawson, Gardner (McClean 83), Fletcher, Sessegnon (Sandro 90), Berahino, Rondon (Anichebe 90). Subs Not Used: Myhill, Pritchard, Gamboa, Lambert.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 32,018.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.


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