Friday 21 October 2016

Huth's late winner continues Leicester fairytale

Matt Law

Published 14/01/2016 | 02:30

Robert Huth headed Leicester in front from Christian Fuchs' corner: Reuters / Dylan Martinez
Robert Huth headed Leicester in front from Christian Fuchs' corner: Reuters / Dylan Martinez

Robert Huth as the unlikely hero in the latest chapter of the season's most unlikely story, as Leicester City stole a late victory that kept the pressure on leaders Arsenal.

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Huth's 83rd-minute header underlined that Leicester believe they are in the top four to stay and moved the Foxes level on points with Arsenal at the top of the table. The Gunners now only lead on goal difference.

The result also puts Leicester seven points ahead of Spurs, whose outside hopes of challenging for the title suffered a huge blow.

Other than Huth, Leicester had Kasper Schmeichel to thank for their latest success as the goalkeeper produced a couple of crucial saves, most notably diverting a Harry Kane effort on to the crossbar.

There were a combined total of 16 changes from the two sides who clashed in the FA Cup and it was Tottenham who settled quicker.

Dele Alli, who this week signed a new five-year deal, was the first player to worry Leicester with a low drive that bounced narrowly wide.

Schmeichel then had to push the ball over his crossbar after Toby Alderweireld's header from Erik Lamela's corner bounced up towards the top corner. Leicester were struggling but were gifted a good chance, thanks to a poor kick from Hugo Lloris that sparked them into life.

The Frenchman's weak pass was seized upon by Marc Albrighton. He attempted to tee up Jamie Vardy and the ball fell for Shinji Okazaki, who steered an effort wide. Okazaki was on target against Spurs in the FA Cup and the Japanese striker was involved in two more chances as the visitors grew in confidence.

It was Okazaki who tried to turn Alderweireld inside the six-yard box and the ball broke for N'Golo Kante, who should have done better than to fire high over the crossbar.

Lloris was at full stretch in the 26th minute to stop Danny Drinkwater from opening the scoring. Okazaki headed on a long throw-in and the midfielder's crisp volley was going in until the Spurs goalkeeper turned the ball around his left-hand post.

Despite the taunts of Spurs fans that he was not as good as his father, Peter, Schmeichel produced an impressive diving save of his own to keep out Eriksen.

Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were back in Leicester's starting line-up, but neither man got a clear sight on goal during the first half, while Kane, starting for Tottenham after scoring a late penalty as a substitute against the Foxes in the FA Cup, was just as quiet in the first 45 minutes.

Leicester won a succession of corners at the start of the second half, with Drinkwater going close with a deflected shot and Vardy seeing an effort blocked by Jan Vertonghen before Spurs managed to push out from their own penalty area.

As spaces finally started to appear for both sides to attack, Lamela squandered a great chance after being picked out by left-back Ben Davies. The Argentinian looked set to beat Schmeichel, but dragged wide.

Referee Lee Mason had to talk to Vardy and Vertonghen after the pair clashed following a late challenge from Leicester's top scorer that went unnoticed by the officials. Vardy was then denied by Lloris after almost being played in by a mistake from Kyle Walker.

Kane was handed his first chance just after the hour and went agonisingly close. He exchanged passes with Lamela, but Schmeichel managed to get just enough on Kane's shot for the ball to bounce back to safety off the crossbar.

There was also a let off for the home side, as Leicester had three goalbound shots blocked in quick succession. Vertonghen got in the way of an effort from Mahrez, then Drinkwater's shot hit Okazaki and, finally, Vertonghen denied Leonardo Ulloa.

Tottenham's defence switched off with seven minutes left, however, as Huth headed Leicester in front. Christian Fuchs found the unmarked central defender with a high corner and Huth did not even have to jump to plant a header past Lloris.

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