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Leicester bury Baggies after early setback

West Bromwich Albion 1:4 Leicester City

1718 wba away c

Despite going a goal down, City added to Albion’s woes with a convincing 4-1 win at the Hawthorns on Saturday…

Claude Puel made five changes to his side, with Simpson, Iborra, Chilwell, Gray and Okazaki all returning to the starting XI.
But they got off to a shaky start on a rainy day in the West Midlands and went behind in the 8th minute. Chilwell missed an attempted interception, allowing Burke to race down the right and deliver a low cross that saw Rondon beating Morgan to the ball to divert it past Schmeichel.
Five minutes later Mahrez looped a cross to the far post but it just evaded both Gray and Vardy.
In the 17th minute City went close to going further behind when a Krychowiak shot took a deflection off Iborra and and was heading for the top corner before Schmeichel finger-tipped it on to the crossbar.
But City struck back in the 21st minute with a fantastically executed goal.
Mahrez played an inch perfect ball for Vardy who watched it over his shoulder before guiding a volley beyond Foster’s reach and into the net.
After his usual celebrations in that corner of the Hawthorns, referee Bobby Madley had a word with him.

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It was end to end stuff for a while as Krychowiak dragged a shot wide when well placed, Gibbs made a timely clearance from a dangerous Chilwell cross, and Vardy had a goal disallowed for being narrowly offside as he ran on to Chilwell’s through ball.
Rondon then had a shot deflected over the bar.
1-1 at the break, with City on top after a poor opening spell.

Both sides were looking to push forward in the second half and it was an entertainingly open game.
Gray tried to catch Foster out from distance but the Albion keeper was alert to the danger.
Claude Puel made his first change on the hour, bringing Iheanacho on for Okazaki, and it soon brought its reward.
In the 62nd minute Iheanacho sent a delicate chip over the Baggies defence where Mahrez’s well timed run saw him take a touch before lobbing the ball over Foster to give City the lead.

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City were in charge now. Mahrez almost sent Vardy in on goal and then Iheanacho set him up for a chance which Foster blocked.
Puel brought Albrighton on for Gray in the 67th minute.
Iheanacho then got his first Premier League goal for City in the 76th minute, heading home a Chilwell cross from the left before celebrating in front of the away end.
This sparked an exodus for the exits, with many Albion fans seemingly resigned to defeat and impending relegation.
Puel made his third change late on with Mahrez replaced by Diabate, to rousing applause from the visitors section.
In time added on City got a fourth when Albrighton hoisted a corner in from the left and Iborra rose above the Albion defence to plant a firm header into the net from six yards.

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Claude Puel commented: “The first half was too open, end to end and box and box. The first half could have finished 3-3. It was crazy. We needed to manage our game better in the second half, with more calm and quality. It was interesting to keep the ball on the floor and work West Brom more. We found the clinical edge with a fantastic goal.”

West Brom: Foster, Nyom, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs, Krychowiak (Field 59), Livermore, Brunt, Burke (Robson-Kanu 83), Rondón, Phillips (Rodriguez 70).
Substitutes: Yacob, Myhill, McClean, McAuley.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Iborra, Ndidi, Mahrez (Diabaté 88), Okazaki (Iheanacho 60), Gray (Albrighton 67), Vardy.
Substitutes: Dragovic, Jakupovic, James, Fuchs.

Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 23,558.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.


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Mahrez rescues a point against West Brom

Leicester City 1:1 West Bromwich Albion

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

City managed to scrape a point from a poor performance against an obstinate West Brom at the King Power on Monday night.

A win would have taken City out of the relegation zone, but Albion haven’t lost a game at Leicester since 1994, and from the first whistle their defensive intentions were clear.
A deep lying back four snuffed out City’s main threat of the swift break upfield, and faced with nine defenders there was plenty of sideways passing and no way through.
Okazaki had been dropped in favour of Iheanacho, and his energy was missed.
Vardy made two early runs down the left, Hegazi chopped him down to end the first one, and then put a hand in his face for the second, earning a 7th minute yellow card.
The resulting free-kick from Mahrez flew across the goalmouth, but no one was on hand to get a touch.
The rest of the half consisted of City trying and failing to get past the wall of white shirts, with Albion not interested in moving forward.
City’s best chance arrived in the 35th minute when a headed clearance from Hegazi fell for Simpson to let fly with a fierce half volley, but Myhill reacted well to bat it away.
Two minutes before the break, Iborra hit a shot into the ground and it looped up towards Vardy at the far post, but he couldn’t direct his header downwards and cleared the bar.
Mike Dean’s whistle then drew a veil over a truly woeful first half.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

The second half started with a bang when Vardy and Myhill both raced towards an underhit back pass. They collided a yard outside the area and Myhill was yellow carded while receiving treatment.
Mahrez’s free-kick was half-cleared and the ball fell for Maguire at the far post, but a defending boot blocked his goal-bound header.
City should have taken a 50th minute lead when Albrighton surged down and left and cut in before teeing up an unmarked Mahrez, who scooped his effort over the bar from ten yards.
Myhill then received lenghty treatment as he continued to struggle after his collision with Vardy.
In the 62nd minute, the team that had come for a draw contrived to go ahead.
Iheanacho fouled Krychowiak 35 yards out and was harshly booked.
Chadli lifted the ball over the wall, and Schmeichel, wrong-footed and unsighted could only watch it sail into the net.
City huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, but made little impression on an even more withdrawn Albion, failing to test a clearly struggling Myhill.
Criag Shakepeare made his first changes in the 74th minute with Icheancho replaced by  Slimani, and Simpson off for Chilwell.
This immediately looked like a better set up and both subs were involved in City’s 80th minute equaliser. Chilwell crossed from the left, Slimani nodded the ball back from the far post and Mahrez chested it down and steered it past a forest of defenders and Myhill.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

The game had finally come to life and Maguire blasted a swerving 25 yarder which was too close to Myhill, who parried it away.
But Albion rallied and managed to keep City at bay through 5 minutes of time added on.
A point wasn’t enough to lift City out of the relegation zone, but the late conversion to a 3-5-2 may have shown the solution to the problem.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Chilwell 74), Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Iborra King 90), Ndidi, Albrighton, Iheanacho (Slimani 74), Vardy. Substitutes: Gray, Hamer, Amartey, Okazaki.
West Brom: Myhill, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Livermore, Krychowiak, Barry, Rodriguez (McClean 84), Rondón, Chadli (McAuley 84).
Substitutes: Nyom, Yacob, Phillips, Brunt, Palmer.
Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 30,203.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.


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Vardy strike sees Leicester edge out Albion

West Bromwich Albion 0:1 Leicester City

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Any lingering fears that City had about relegation were dispelled as City beat West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a Jamie Vardy strike just before half time…

Craig Shakespeare made one change for this trip to his former club, bringing in Okazaki for Ulloa, in a fixture that had seen a City victory in three of the last four encounters.
Any thoughts that Mark Clattengburg might have an easy time of it in his last Premier League game were soon dismissed as the early stages turned into a physical battle.
Benalouane hit Rondon from behind, but Brunt sent the 25 yard free-kick sailing over the bar.

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Tackles were flying in, and Drinkwater was perhaps lucky to see only a yellow card after a ball-winning challenge with a foot in the air that sent Chadli flying.
Albion’s best chance of the half came in the 18th minute when Evans long cross to the far post was met by the head of Brunt, but Schmeichel pulled off a spectacular save to tip it over the bar.
The cuts and bruises mounted up as Benalouane and McAuley clashed heads and the Albion man had to have treatment for a cut and reemerged with a Basil Fawlty bandage.
Yacob was then lucky that Clattenburg was in last day mode, seeing yellow after planting an elbow into Okazaki’s jaw.

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Brunt then sent Chadli in down the right, but his shot didn’t trouble Schmeichel at the near post.
Neither side were playing with much fluency and a scrappy encounter looked like it was going to be scoreless at the break, until City were gifted a 43rd minute lead.
Rondon had come deep to break up a City move, but sent a wayward pass into the path of Okazaki, who slid a perfect ball in for Vardy to produce a cool finish past Foster.

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In first half injury time Rondon got his head to a Chadli corner but sent it narrowly off target and City took a precious lead in with them at the break.

City created the first chance of the second half when Vardy fired in a low cross from the left, but it was a yard ahead of Okazaki’s reach in the middle.
Albion began to apply some pressure, but they hadn’t found the net in the previous four games. Rondon fired in a shot that was too close to Schmeichel, Yacob sent another shot well over, and Dawson headed wide from a free-kick. Dawson’s next header, from a corner, was on target, but deflected over the bar off Brunt.
City broke forward and Drinkwater sent Mahrez in on the right. He sidestepped Nyom and fired in a low shot that brushed the outside of the right hand post.
Drinkwater fouled on Morrison on the edge of the area, but Chadli’s free-kick flew a yard over the bar.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 67th minute, bringing Ulloa on for Okazaki, as West Brom began to press hard in search of an equaliser.
City’s defence dealt with everything that was thrown at them and Albion’s goalless streak stretched to a record fifth game.
Mahrez had a chance to extend City’s lead but couldn’t get the intended curl on his shot, which went well wide.
Rondon wasted a good chance, and then Chadli almost nipped in when Huth left a ball for Schmeichel, but City saw out the game for their second away win of the season.

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It took them to 40 points, and while not quite mathematically safe, the players went over to the away fans at the end to celebrate another virtually guaranteed year of Premier League football.
Craig Shakespeare was waiting for the rubber stamp when asked about safety: “No, I’m not going to say so. Of course, it takes another giant step towards it. We knew it would be a difficult game today but what I will say about it was that it was a real gutsy performance.”

Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom (McClean 60), Livermore, Yacob (Fletcher 69), Brunt, Morrison (Leko 79), Chadli, Rondon. Subs Not Used: Wilson, Myhill, Harper, Field.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (King 81), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Ulloa 67), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Chilwell, Amartey, Slimani, Zieler, Gray.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 24,611.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.


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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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Vardy scoring streak continues as Leicester win at West Brom

West Bromwich Albion 2:3 Leicester City

2015-16 wba away b

Claudio Ranieri made one change to his side with Ulloa coming in for the injured Fuchs, partnering Vardy up front.
Vardy nearly added to his hugely impressive scoring run in the 8th minute, turning Evans inside-out down the left before firing a low shot against the near post.
City continued to press forward using the flanks, but they couldn’t undo a tight West Brom defence who have six clean sheets this season.
On the half hour Albion then drew first blood from a corner. Sessegnon’s flag kick was delivered from the left and Rondon’s angled header beat Schmeichel at the near post.
City continued to attack, but found solid resistance and Vardy, Abrighton and Drinkwater all had fierce shots blocked by defenders, before Myhill made a good save from Ulloa.
For all their dominance in midfield and attacking play, City found themselves a goal down at half time.

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After a spell of Albion pressure early in the second half City struck back in the 57th minute.
Albrighton delivered a lofted ball in from the left and Mahrez had ghosted in behind the home defence for a simple finish past Myhill from close in. Where bashing on the door of Albion’s stout defence failed, Mahrez had sneaked in and picked the lock.
After Vardy had gone close with a backheel from a Schlupp cutrback, Albrighton and Mahrez repeated their trick in the 65th minute. This time from the right flank, Albrighton’s cross again found Mahrez at the far post with the Albion defence seemingly powerless to prevent him stroking home his 7th goal of the season.

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With City now ahead Ranieri made a couple of changes, bringing King on for Ulloa and then Dyer for Albrighton.
And City soon extended their lead with a superb 77th minute goal from Vardy.
A ball out of City’s defence found the England striker in the centre-circle, and he laid it off to Drinkwater before charging forward. Drinkwater delivered a perfect pass for Vardy to run on to and he accelerated away from three Albion defenders before crashing the ball across Myhill for his 8th goal in 8 consecutive Premier League games.
Albion reined City’s lead back to a single goal in the 84th minute when McManaman was brought down in the area by Dyer. Although it looked as though the Albion player may have been looking for Dyer’s leg to trip over it was a case of rough justice after an earlier incident had seen Huth flatten Fletcher in the area. Lambert sent Schmeichel the wrong way with his spot kick to make for a nervy closing spell. The fresh legs of Okazaki replaced Drinkwater and Schmeichel got down well to smother a Lambert effort that ended up in the side-netting.

The final whistle saw City in third place as the season moved into November.
If the supporters were in dreamland, Claudio Ranieri was keeping his feet planted on the floor: “I believe everything is possible with this team because they have amazing character. In this moment, I think just about 40 points. My mind is on achieving 40 points as soon as possible. Then we’ll see which month we are in and what games are left.”

West Brom: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Brunt (McManaman 82), Fletcher, Yacob (Morrison 76), McClean, Sessegnon, Berahino (Lambert 76), Rondon. Subs Not Used: Lindegaard, Olsson, Chester, Gardner.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Schlupp, Albrighton (Dyer 76), Drinkwater (Okazaki 87), Kanté, Mahrez, Ulloa (King 69), Vardy. Subs Not Used: De Laet, Chilwell, Schwarzer, Inler.

Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 24,150.

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Leicester goal drought continues as Albion claim the points

Leicester City 0:1 West Bromwich Albion

2014-15 wba home a

The Remembrance Fixture turned out to be one to forget as City lost 1-0 to West Brom at the KPS on Saturday…
The helicopter ball drop and minute’s silence for the fallen proved to be the best part of the afternoon as City lost their unbeaten home record in the Premier League.
Nigel Pearson made four changes  with Wasilewski, Cambiasso, King and James in for Moore, Hammond, Mahrez and Ulloa.
City had an early chance for a morale-boosting goal in the 3rd minute but King’s header from a James corner was directed tamely at Foster.
Schmeichel was then forced into action twice as swift breaks set up Berahino and Sessegnon for shots on target.
Morgan then sent a header over the bar from close in when he met another James flag-kick.
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Gardner got a header from a corner on target but Cambiasso  was well placed to clear off the line.
The last chance of a scrappy half went to the visitors – Berahino teeing up  Brunt, who fired narrowly over the bar.

Although City came out for the second half looking more lively, they fell behind to a bizarre own goal after just two minutes. People were still taking their seats when Morgan’s diving header to cut out a Berahino cross struck Cambiasso and found the net.
City desperately sought an equaliser, but found dogged Albion resistance.

King headed a James free-kick over the bar; and then Konchesky sent Vardy through, but his low shot was placed too near to Foster.
Nugent then sent a low cross flashing across the goalmouth but there was no blue shirt to meet it.
Ulloa replaced Nugent and set up King with another header but this one was directed straight at Foster when it should have brought an equaliser.
Foster then comfortably fielded a header from Ulloa, whose introduction had livened things up considerably.
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The introduction of Wood and Powell for Vardy and Drinkwater failed to make much impression and City were left to contemplate a run of five games that have produced a single point.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Drinkwater (Powell 81), Morgan, James, Vardy (Wood 81), King, Cambiasso, Wasilewski, Nugent (Ulloa 68). Subs Not Used: Smith, Moore, Hammond, Mahrez.
Albion: Foster, Wisdom, Dawson (Gamboa 90), Lescott, Pocognoli, Brunt, Gardner, Dorrans, Morrison, Sessegnon (Yacob 81), Berahino (Anichebe 88). Subs Not Used: Myhill, McAuley, Mulumbu, Samaras.

Referee: S Attwell Attendance: 31,819.


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