Saints secure third straight away win

By SFC Media Sat 11 Jan Leicester City v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Stuart Armstrong
Sat 11 Jan 3PM
Premier League
Leicester City
1
Southampton
2
Praet [14']
Armstrong [19'] Ings [81']
Armstrong (16') Højbjerg (72') Ings (81')
Referee: Lee Mason | Venue: King Power Stadium | Attendance: 32,115

Southampton continued their remarkable recent upturn with a fifth win in six games and perhaps the biggest result of the lot, coming from behind to defeat second-placed Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League.

Trailing to Dennis Praet’s 14th-minute opener, Saints were the better team from start to finish, and quickly recovered by drawing level through Stuart Armstrong’s first goal of the season five minutes later.

Twice top scorer Danny Ings struck the crossbar late in the first half, before Saints were denied a clear penalty by a marginal offside decision as VAR intervened.

Ings’s moment finally arrived nine minutes from the end, fed by substitute Ché Adams, before VAR cut short Leicester celebrations just as the Foxes thought they had drawn level through Jonny Evans’s last-gasp header, as Saints held on for a third successive away victory in the top flight.

Ralph Hasenhüttl made one change to his last Premier League starting line-up, as Shane Long returned to the attack in place of Moussa Djenepo, who dropped to the bench.

Ings has been Saints’ go-to man in recent weeks, seemingly converting every chance he gets, but for once one passed him by early in the game at the King Power Stadium.

Typically persistent, he charged down Çaglar Söyüncü’s wild clearance and went eye to eye with Kasper Schmeichel, but the Leicester keeper stood tall and shut down the angles to deny Ings not once but twice, as the Foxes survived a nervy start.

Regardless of that missed opportunity, Ings was looking sharp, and he soon blocked a Schmeichel clearance in another sign that Leicester wouldn’t be given time to breathe, even inside their own penalty area.

Saints had made the better start, but it was the hosts who took the lead in the 14th minute.

From Ayoze Pérez’s quickly-taken free-kick, Jamie Vardy timed his run in behind the defence just right to latch on to a ball down the left and slide in a low cross turned in by Praet at the far post.

Stuart Armstrong's deflected shot drew Saints level after 19 minutes

Saints responded with a warning shot from Armstrong that Schmeichel did well to hold on to, before the Scot went into the book for bringing down Ben Chilwell in full flight.

It would take only five minutes for Saints to strike back – the least they deserved on the balance of play.

Again Ings was involved, spreading the ball wide to Long, who switched the angle of attack from left to right to pick out Armstrong near the corner of the penalty area.

Stepping inside on to his less-favoured left foot, Armstrong’s luck was in when his attempted curler took a big deflection off James Maddison to leave Schmeichel no chance in the Leicester goal.

The Dane was able to deal with a dipping drive from compatriot Pierre-Emile Højbjerg as Saints continued to grow in confidence, stooping to his left to tip away the skipper’s clean strike from long range.

But the visitors needed no reminding not to take their eyes off the electric Vardy, who latched on to Højbjerg’s blocked clearance to score, only to be flagged offside – a decision vindicated by VAR.

James Ward-Prowse’s first chance to make an impact came in the form of a 25-yard free-kick, almost in the exact spot he would choose to place it himself, but the blue wall stood tall and Saints’ dead-ball expert just clipped the top of it.

This had been an excellent half from Saints, with Ings incredibly unlucky not to score twice in a matter of seconds as the interval approached.

First he got across Söyüncü at the near post to meet Armstrong’s low cross, turning the ball against the crossbar, before an instinctive first-time shot crashed against the same lick of paint from the edge of the box.

Danny Ings moved a step closer to Jamie Vardy in the Golden Boot race with his 14th league goal of the season

Saints’ positivity continued into the second period. Ryan Bertrand’s deep free-kick caught out Schmeichel, and Jack Stephens reacted quickly to divert the ball goalwards, only for the covering Söyüncü to clear off his own goal line.

Then Ings threatened again, heading straight at Schmeichel from another pinpoint Armstrong cross.

Saints’ only grievance would be that they were not in front, and Hasenhüttl’s men were nearly left regretting missed chances when Alex McCarthy had to be alert to make a point-blank save from Evans at a corner.

The visitors could have been forgiven for being content with a draw, but continued flooding forward in pursuit of the lead.

Armstrong skied a shot from the edge of the box, before threading the ball through for Long, who took his first touch across Söyüncü and was sent crashing to earth by the Turkish defender. Easy decision: penalty.

With Ward-Prowse waiting to take, VAR intervened. Long, apparently, was offside by a matter of millimetres – to the point that even on the TV replays it was still impossible to spot with the naked eye.

With 12 minutes to go, Hasenhüttl made a double change, introducing Adams and Djenepo for Long and Armstrong in a statement of further attacking intent.

Three minutes later, Adams was playing a key role in Saints’ winning goal. Receiving the ball from Nathan Redmond, he freed Ings in behind the Leicester defence and the in-form marksman made no mistake this time, taking the ball early to prod a low shot between the legs of Schmeichel, who got something on it but could not keep it out.

Off went Ings, ripping off his shirt as relief swept over him, as memories of missed chances and that reverse fixture at St Mary’s came rushing back.

He finally had his goal, but Saints’ number nine will have been wondering how he hadn’t scored more, particularly when Schmeichel made a superhuman save to keep him at bay from another slick counter-attack.

At the other end, there was still time for McCarthy to come to the fore with a crucial stop to deny substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, but he was powerless to prevent Evans’s thumping header finding the net in the final minute of normal time. 

But there was to be one final twist, as Evans was penalised for offside, and Saints celebrated another day to remember as the club’s perfect start to 2020 continued.

Leicester City

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    58
    42
  • Shots
    5
    16
  • Shots on target
    5
    10
  • Corners
    2
    4
  • Passes Complete
    331
    181

Leicester City

1
Kasper Schmeichel (GK) (C)
21
Ricardo Pereira
3
Ben Chilwell
4
Çaglar Söyüncü
6
Jonny Evans
15
Harvey Barnes
Kelechi Iheanacho (58′)
17
Ayoze Pérez
Demarai Gray (67′)
26
Dennis Praet
Youri Tielemans (77′)
10
James Maddison
20
Hamza Choudhury
9
Jamie Vardy
7
Demarai Gray
8
Youri Tielemans
14
Kelechi Iheanacho
11
Marc Albrighton
16
Filip Benkovic
2
James Justin
12
Danny Ward

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
21
Ryan Bertrand
5
Jack Stephens
35
Jan Bednarek
2
Cédric Soares
17
Stuart Armstrong
Moussa Djenepo (78′)
16
James Ward-Prowse
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
22
Nathan Redmond
Oriol Romeu (92′)
7
Shane Long
Che Adams (78′)
9
Danny Ings
12
Moussa Djenepo
10
Che Adams
14
Oriol Romeu
28
Angus Gunn
20
Michael Obafemi
19
Sofiane Boufal
3
Maya Yoshida
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