Tuesday 18 December 2018

Leicester leave it late to see off Brighton

Iborra and Vardy strike after Murray misses Brighton penalty.

Vicente Iborra, right, celebrates scoring Leicester's opener
Vicente Iborra, right, celebrates scoring Leicester's opener

By Ed Elliot, Press Association Sport

Vicente Iborra and Jamie Vardy scored late goals as Leicester dented Brighton’s Premier League survival hopes with a 2-0 win at the Amex Stadium.

Spanish midfielder Iborra nodded the ball into the bottom right corner in the 83rd minute before England striker Vardy tapped home the second in stoppage time.

Seagulls striker Glenn Murray had seen a 77th-minute penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel, while Leicester ended the game with 10 men after Wilfred Ndidi was dismissed for a second yellow card with the score 1-0.

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Albion edged the majority of the game but remain just six points clear of danger with seven games remaining following the late drama.

Claude Puel’s Foxes, meanwhile, boosted their chances of Europa League qualification and stay three points behind seventh-placed Burnley.

Both teams went into the game on the back of being eliminated from the FA Cup quarter-finals before the international break.

While Leicester had almost certainly guaranteed their top-flight status for next season ahead of kick-off, Albion still had work to do.

The scrappy first half was almost entirely forgettable with both sides struggling to find any sort of rhythm and having an equal share of possession.

Chances were extremely limited, although Albion top scorer Murray should really have given the hosts the lead with 37 minutes played.

The veteran striker, recalled after being a substitute in the cup defeat at Manchester United, was slipped in on goal by Pascal Gross but somehow fired wide with Schmeichel rooted to the spot.

Murray had earlier flashed a shot over, while Iborra and Riyad Mahrez drew routine saves from Mathew Ryan at the other end.

Brighton began the second period with renewed purpose and creative midfielder Gross immediately threatened with a shot from range which was tipped behind by Schmeichel.

Harry Maguire, who missed England’s midweek friendly draw with Italy due to cramp, was fit enough to feature and he then had to be alert to block Jose Izquierdo’s path to goal.

Foxes manager Puel reacted to the pressure by withdrawing the ineffective Shinji Okazaki and tightening his midfield with the introduction of Malian Fousseni Diabate.

Little was being created by either side but their cause was not helped by a series of yellow cards for cynical fouls.

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Glenn Murray saw his penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel (Gareth Fuller/PA)

All of Leicester’s back four ended the game in referee Chris Kavanagh’s book, alongside midfielder Ndidi and Albion’s Beram Kayal and Gaetan Bong.

Albion were presented with a golden chance to break the deadlock when Colombia winger Izquierdo was brought down in the box but Schmeichel produced a superb save to keep out Murray’s spot-kick.

The hosts were made to pay for Murray’s miss and Iborra soon nodded home the opener following a superb Ben Chilwell delivery.

Ndidi was then dismissed following a foul on Shane Duffy, before Brighton defender Bong narrowly failed to find an equaliser from Solly March’s corner.

Vardy, starved of service for much of the match, sealed the away side’s success six minutes into added time, tapping home his 15th league goal of the season at the back post after a right-wing cross from substitute Demarai Gray.

Press Association

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