Post by Football News on Mar 31, 2018 19:44:28 GMT
Brighton 0-2 Leicester
Iborra and Vardy seal victory for 10-man Leicester after Brighton penalty miss
For 78 minutes Leicester were dreadful and the main question was whether Brighton would be able to summon enough quality to claim three points rather than settle for one against strangely lethargic visitors. They won a perfect opportunity to do so when a foul on José Izquierdo gave Glenn Murray a penalty. But Kasper Schmeichel produced a tremendous save – and six minutes later Vicente Iborra compounded the home team’s anguish by heading a Ben Chilwell cross into the bottom corner.
Wilfred Ndidi was sent off moments later for a second bookable offence – although the midfielder protested that Shane Duffy tumbled without contact – but Leicester crowned their victory in stoppage time, when Jamie Vardy netted from a cross by Demarai Gray.
For most of this match the only entertainment was the sight of Leicester’s normally even-tempered manager, Claude Puel, gradually building to a thundering rage on the sidelines as his players repeatedly gave the ball away. On countless occasions Leicester got opportunities to spring counterattacks, only for one of their number to abort the move by either over- or under-hitting the supposed through-ball. Shinji Okazaki was a serial offender before being withdrawn in the 55th minute. Jamie Vardy was isolated. And Puel’s angry contortions in front of the dugout suggested he felt personally trolled.
Brighton, in greater need of three points, were a little more sprightly. Jürgen Locadia impressed on his first Premier League start since signing from PSV for more than £14m in January. Powerful and adroit, the Dutchman made several dangerous incursions down the right before he faded and was replaced in the 75th minute. If Izquierdo had been able to connect with Locadia’s fierce cross in the 14th minute, Schmeichel might have been forced into action for the first time. As it turned out, Mathew Ryan was the first goalkeeper to make a save, but there was nothing else noteworthy about his stop from a soft header by Iborra.
If loose passing spoiled most of Leicester’s attacks, it also nearly offered an opening goal to Brighton in the 34th minute. Harry Maguire was the culprit, gifting possession to Glenn Murray, who scurried forward before lashing a shot just over from the edge of the box. Three minutes later Murray spurned a far better chance, blasting wide from 10 yards after being sent through by Davy Pröpper.
The lack of intensity in Leicester’s play raised the suspicion that some of their players were subconsciously just punching the clock, but Puel’s agitation suggested he would use the interval to demand more urgency and accuracy. The same personnel emerged for the second period and Brighton threatened to score almost immediately. Schmeichel had to fling himself to his left to tip away a shot from 20 yards by Pascal Gross.
Leicester improved after Fousseni Diabaté’s introduction in the 55th minute and began to threaten. But a Brighton substitute made a more important contribution, as Solly March wriggled his way into the Leicester box in the 78th minute before feeding Izquierdo, who was brought down by Wilfred Ndidi. Murray stepped up to extend a hot streak that had seen him score six goals in his last eight matches. But Schmeichel, who came into this game in poor form, made an excellent save, again flinging himself to his left to tip the shot away. Then Iborra and Vardy produced a pair of deadly finishes, the first a downward header from a cross by Chilwell, the second a close-range bullet after high-class service by Demarai Gray.