Thursday 26 April 2018

Mahrez steals Vardy show to put Foxes top

Swansea City 0-3 Leicester City

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates with the match ball after the game after scoring a hat trick
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates with the match ball after the game after scoring a hat trick
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy has a shot on goal
Riyad Mahrez scores the third goal for Leicester City to complete his hat trick

Alan Smith

They are Leicester City, they are top of the league. For once, the story was not about Jamie Vardy, unable to equal Jimmy Dunne's top-flight record of scoring in a dozen consecutive games, but about his august deputy, Riyad Mahrez. The winger reached double figures for the season with a clinical hat-trick to send Claudio Ranieri's team back to the top of the tree, strengthening their case to be this year's Christmas No 1.

Leicester were rampant and the hosts were lucky to still be in with an outside chance at half-time. Swansea improved in the second half, but the damage had been done. Garry Monk's team have won once in 11 and further questions have been raised about the manager's future.

"It was bleak," said Monk, who vowed to "work as hard as I can until I'm told not to because nobody knows this club better than myself".

Mahrez was reportedly involved in an altercation with Ashley Williams outside the dressing rooms after the game, but the incident was defused and the Leicester player was ushered away. It was not enough to take the gloss off another fine performance from the Foxes. Vardy has been the leading light, but Mahrez's form has been nothing short of sensational at times. The pair have 24 goals combined.

Ranieri, though, would not single anyone out for praise: "All the team played well." It took only five minutes for Mahrez to score his first, but it could easily have been avoided. Kyle Bartley conceded a cheap corner. Marc Albrighton delivered from the left, it evaded a cluster of players at the front post, and Mahrez got in front of Bafetimbi Gomis to bundle the ball in. Vardy should have equalled Dunne's record nine minutes in, when he dispossessed Williams in the centre circle and sped clear. Lukasz Fabianski was alert, however, and saved.

There was little the keeper could have done to deny Mahrez his second - though it should not have stood because the Algerian was offside. It was another goal from a rapid break. The move started with Christian Fuchs' pass to Vardy. He controlled the ball and laid it off to N'Golo Kante, who sent a diagonal pass to Mahrez. The assistant referee Mick McDonough's flag remained down, allowing Mahrez to control before side-footing home.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was left to rue driving a good opportunity over in the 53rd minute. And any Swansea hope was quenched 15 minutes after that, when Mahrez completed his treble. Kante galloped forward and fed Vardy in the D. The striker turned and found Mahrez to his right, who tucked the ball, first time, into the bottom-left corner. Vardy then drilled over and also hit the side-netting. Sigurdsson hit the woodwork with a curling attempt late on, but Swansea departed to jeers.

Sunday Indo Sport

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