Thursday 23 January 2020

Newcastle edge closer to safety with Leicester win

The Magpies have now recorded three successive Premier League victories.

Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey

By Sean Taylor, Press Association Sport

Newcastle took a giant leap towards Premier League survival with a 2-1 victory at Leicester.

Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez scored fine goals to put the visitors in control but Jamie Vardy reduced the deficit late on to set up a tense finale at the King Power Stadium.

Rafael Benitez’s side held on though for a third straight win while Leicester’s outside hopes of qualifying for the Europa League were dealt a severe blow and they are now without a home win since January 20.

Leicester 1 Newcastle 2

Early pressure from Newcastle saw them win three corners, the second of which brought a good save from Kasper Schmeichel. Kenedy’s inswinging kick was flicked on at the near post by Perez and the Leicester goalkeeper got down smartly to push his header behind.

Newcastle continued to look the most threatening team and they took the lead after 18 minutes following a swift counter-attack. Perez pulled the ball back for Shelvey, who wrong-footed two defenders with a lovely dummy before guiding a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Things could have got worse for the hosts a couple of minutes later as Harry Maguire was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after a tussle with Dwight Gayle which saw him appear to strike the Newcastle forward in the face.

Newcastle boss Benitez was furious in his technical area, feeling it should have been a red card for the Leicester defender. However, another controversial decision by referee Stuart Attwell went his side’s way just before half-time when Paul Dummett tripped Riyad Mahrez inside the penalty area. The Warwickshire official waved away the appeals for a spot-kick.

Leicester did not look like making any inroads early in the second half so manager Claude Puel made an attacking change after 58 minutes, bringing on Shinji Okazaki for full-back Danny Simpson.

Things improved slightly to begin with as Adrien Silva, Mahrez and Marc Albrighton, now filling in at right-back after Simpson’s substitution, all threatened.

But it was Newcastle who got the second goal of the match in the 75th minute after a defensive blunder from Puel’s team.

Ayoze Perez, centre left, scores Newcastle’s second goal

Central-backs Wes Morgan and Maguire hesitated over a long punt downfield, prompting Schmeichel to think about coming out. The confusion allowed Perez to lob the ball over the goalkeeper and into the unguarded net. It was a brilliantly-taken finish by the Spaniard.

Leicester made the visitors sweat late on for the points, however, as Vardy, who had not had a sniff all afternoon, pulled a goal back with six minutes left.

Okazki’s header from Demarai Gray’s cross beat Martin Dubravka but Vardy was on hand to turn the ball in from virtually on the line.

Newcastle hung on for the win, though, to take a giant leap towards survival.

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