Record-equalling Jamie Vardy fires Leicester to victory at Newcastle
Published 21/11/2015 | 17:26
Jamie Vardy scored for the 10th game in a row to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy's Barclays Premier League record and maintain Leicester's remarkable challenge at the top of the table.
The Foxes forward shook off pre-match concerns over a hip injury and blasted home in first-half stoppage time to move level with ex-Manchester United striker Van Nistelrooy's streak of scoring in consecutive fixtures.
Leonardo Ulloa laid on the record-equalling effort before heading home himself, and substitute Shinji Okazaki added another as Leicester's incredible season continued in a 3-0 success over Newcastle at St James' Park.
It meant Claudio Ranieri's men moved above lunchtime leaders Manchester United and set up a showdown between the two next week when Vardy can eclipse Van Nistelrooy's record against the Dutchman's old employers.
Any concerns over the hip problem that forced Vardy to miss England's friendlies were allayed in the opening five minutes when Chancel Mbemba clattered into his side and the Leicester forward bounced straight back up.
From the resulting corner he was given his first sight of goal, but Aleksandar Mitrovic hurled himself in front of the effort to stop it going any further.
Riyad Mahrez's trickery was causing the hosts issues and he then broke to the Newcastle byline before pulling back for Ulloa, whose try was blocked by Vurnon Anita before the ball span away from Vardy.
After Danny Simpson made a last-ditch intervention to thwart Mitrovic, Mahrez skipped beyond Vurnon Anita and released Vardy six yards out. Goalkeeper Rob Elliot's left foot denied the striker then, but the moment everyone was expecting soon arrived.
France international Moussa Sissoko, playing just eight days after being in the Stade de France when the terror attacks hit Paris, lost the ball inside Leicester's half and it found its way to Vardy. He rolled a pass into Ulloa and drifted off the flank as he stayed onside and collected the return ball, knocked it past Sissoko and rifled inside Elliot's near post for an historic goal.
It was his 13th of the campaign and a strike which earned him a warm round of applause from the home faithful as he walked off at the break, a reception which came in contrast to the one afforded those in black and white.
A frustrating first half for Mitrovic extended after the interval when he failed to connect with Sissoko's pull across the six-yard box despite getting between both Foxes centre-backs.
However, the Magpies midfield continued to leave huge swathes of space for Mahrez and Vardy to operate in, the two combining again for the latter to lash against the crossbar after brushing off Mbemba.
The warning was not heeded and a second Leicester goal soon followed when Mahrez was given time to stand up a cross to the back post, where an unmarked Ulloa planted a header beyond Elliot.
It triggered more boos from the home faithful, who might have been appeased had Georginio Wijnaldum's header found its way past Danny Drinkwater and Kasper Schmeichel on the line.
They were saved more Vardy-inflicted woe when the England international was replaced with 13 minutes to go, but there was still time for Leicester to record a third goal.
Simpson's effort from Marc Albrighton's pass was saved by Elliot and although Okazaki could not force a header home at first, he eventually rammed it over the line to round off a fine afternoon for the high-flying Foxes.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
Congratulations @vardy7 Great finish. Newcastle have been awful in the first half. #NUFC #LCFC - Alan Shearer, who knew a thing or two about scoring goals, praises Leicester's Jamie Vardy but took a dim view of Newcastle's performance
Rob Elliot: 7
Paul Dummett: 6
Chancel Mbemba: 5
Fabricio Coloccini: 5
Daryl Janmaat: 5
Georginio Wijnaldum: 5
Cheick Tiote: 6
Vurnon Anita: 5
Moussa Sissoko: 5
Aleksandar Mitrovic: 5
Ayoze Perez: 5
Florian Thauvin: 5
Papiss Cisse: 6
Siem De Jong: 6
Kasper Schmeichel: 6
Christian Fuchs: 6
Wes Morgan: 6
Robert Huth: 6
Danny Simpson: 8
Marc Albrighton: 6
Danny Drinkwater: 8
N'Golo Kante: 7
Riyad Mahrez: 9
Jamie Vardy: 9
Leonardo Ulloa: 8
Shinji Okazaki: 7
Andy King: 6
Nathan Dyer 6
Jamie Vardy. On another day Riyad Mahrez or Leonardo Ulloa would have earned this accolade but the weight of expectation around Vardy heading into this was huge. With a place in history on the line, he delivered.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
The goal which equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in 10 straight Premier League games, of course. Vardy made it himself by cutting in from the byline, flicking it past Moussa Sissoko and firing home first-time with a brilliant finish.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri started Ulloa and Vardy in attack and was rewarded when the two linked up for the first goal. Meanwhile, home boss Steve McClaren cannot have been happy with how open his midfield was once Cheick Tiote was lost to an early injury.
MOAN OF THE MATCH:
While Vardy and Mahrez were constantly energetic, Aleksandar Mitrovic was an immobile fulcrum at the head of the Magpies' attack.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Crystal Palace v Newcastle, November 28 (Premier League)
Leicester v Manchester United, November 28 (Premier League)