Alcaraz winner lifts Saints off the bottom

By SFC Media time Sat 04 Mar Saints vs Leicester
Photo by Chris Moorhouse
Sat 04 Mar 5.30PM
Premier League
Leicester City
Alcaraz [35']
Alcaraz (21') Adams (62') Armstrong (77') Ward-Prowse (90+4')
yellow card
Barnes (43') Maddison (45+4')
Referee: Robert Jones | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 30,139

Carlos Alcaraz’s first-half winner lifted Southampton off the bottom of the Premier League table and within a point of safety on a tense evening at St Mary’s.

Saints could even afford the luxury of a rare missed penalty from James Ward-Prowse in a first half the hosts shaded.

Alcaraz’s second goal for the club, which survived a marginal VAR decision for offside against Ché Adams before the striker played him in, arrived three minutes after the spot-kick and ten before the interval.

Leicester will be wondering how Kelechi Iheanacho did not score – or even test Gavin Bazunu – from one of his three clear sights of goal, but the Nigerian was wasteful, while Harry Souttar rattled the crossbar in the last of five agonising added minutes, as Saints held on for a second 1-0 win in three Premier League outings.

Rubén Sellés made four changes to his last league line-up, including a first start in four months for Theo Walcott and a welcome return from injury for Adams, who led the line flanked by Walcott and Kamaldeen Sulemana.

Elsewhere, Kyle Walker-Peters and Alcaraz returned, as Romain Perraud, Stuart Armstrong, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Paul Onuachu dropped to the bench.

Sellés would have been encouraged by Saints’ start, particularly when a surging run down the right wing carried Ainsley Maitland-Niles all the way into the penalty area where he picked out Theo Walcott, but Walcott’s goal-bound shot from ten yards struck teammate Kamaldeen, offering Leicester a lucky escape.

The visitors’ response was a cute pass from James Maddison to set Ricardo Pereira free inside the box, but the right-back appeared to be caught in two minds, failing to shoot on target or pick out Iheanacho, who was handily placed on the six-yard line.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04:  during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Leicester City at Friends Provident St. Mary's Stadium on March 04, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
James Ward-Prowse saw his first-half penalty saved by goalkeeper Danny Ward

It was from that same position that the Nigerian should have put the Foxes in front in the 20th minute. Perhaps he saw Maddison’s free-kick late, as it fizzed over the head of Wout Faes at a rate of knots, but Iheanacho somehow contrived to divert a golden chance wide.

Leicester had edged the early exchanges, but Saints were about to pass up the best opportunity to date when Ward-Prowse was uncharacteristically thwarted from the penalty spot.

It was Walcott’s one-two with Adams that set up the chance, before the winger’s cross from the byline struck the raised arm of left-back Timothy Castagne.

It was harsh on the Belgian, who was merely trying to block the cross, but his arm was up and the decision could not be disputed, leaving Ward-Prowse with the ball in his hand.

But it was the away fans celebrating when Ward read the intentions of the Saints skipper, diving to his right to repel the spot-kick, which was well struck but halfway up the goal, just where Ward would want it, and not close enough to the corner.

It may not have been the outcome they wanted, but it still stirred something inside the Saints faithful, who roared their team forward again.

The players responded, as Alcaraz stooped to head a Ward-Prowse cross into Ward’s arms, before Kamaldeen dragged a left-footed shot wide as Saints upped the ante.

Their reward arrived ten minutes before the interval. Adams dropped short to collect a low pass and quickly turned to release Alcaraz in one movement, who had run beyond him and was now sprinting towards goal with only the keeper to beat.

As Ward advanced and defenders retreated, the Argentinian kept his cool to finish with a low shot across the Welsh stopper from the edge of the penalty area.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04:  during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Leicester City at Friends Provident St. Mary's Stadium on March 04, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Carlos Alcaraz beats Ward to find the bottom corner and score the game's only goal

Such was the joy with which he celebrated, before the subsequent VAR check ruled in Saints’ favour, Alcaraz injured his knee – struggling through to half time only to be withdrawn soon after the break.

There was no doubt who was on top at this point, as Kamaldeen tested Ward once more, while Leicester’s two most creative players, Harvey Barnes and Maddison, both went into the book as the visitors’ frustrations grew.

The shift in momentum prompted a half-time substitution from Brendan Rodgers, introducing Dennis Praet for Barnes, whose cross immediately after the restart was begging to be headed home by Iheanacho, but again the striker misfired from close range.

By the hour mark Saints were getting pushed back, prompting Sellés to bring on some fresh legs up front in Sékou Mara and Adam Armstrong, as Adams and Walcott departed to deserved applause.

But the chances kept coming Leicester’s way – specifically the way of Iheanacho, who was guilty of another bad miss midway through the second half.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Kamaldeen Sulemana of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Leicester City at St. Mary's Stadium on March 04, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Kamaldeen Sulemana's explosive pace offered Saints a counter-attacking threat

This one was all Saints’ own making, as Bazunu scuffed a clearance straight to the Leicester man just outside the box, who had time to compose himself and pick his spot, but his shot was too high, grazing the top of the net on its way over.

When Rodgers turned to Jamie Vardy soon after, it was not to replace Iheanacho but to partner him, as the visitors threw caution to the wind, sensing their opportunity to strike.

Saints were having to pick their moments to counter-attack, but in Kamaldeen they have a roadrunner ready to burst into life.

The winger set off down the left, leaving the Leicester defence in his wake before squaring the ball across goal for Armstrong, but the substitute lifted the chance high over the bar, and would have been relieved to see the offside flag spare his blushes.

Meanwhile, Iheanacho resumed his duel with the target, but still could not force Bazunu to make a save, as Leicester’s pressure mounted.

The scheming Maddison would not go away either, as the Leicester captain crossed for Faes to head wide before Saints survived the biggest scare of all, deep into stoppage time, when Bazunu misjudged another Maddison delivery and Souttar’s header thundered against the crossbar.


Head to Head Stats

Leicester City
  • Possession (%)
    comparison angle
  • Shots
    comparison angle
  • Shots on target
    comparison angle
  • Corners
    comparison angle
  • Passes Complete
    comparison angle


Gavin Bazunu (GK)
Armel Bella-Kotchap
Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Kyle Walker-Peters
Jan Bednarek
Theo Walcott
replace Adam Armstrong (63′) yellow card
Carlos Alcaraz yellow card goal
replace Mohamed Elyounoussi (50′)
Kamaldeen Sulemana
replace Stuart Armstrong (80′)
Roméo Lavia
James Ward-Prowse (C) yellow card
Che Adams yellow card
replace Sékou Mara (63′)
Mohammed Salisu
Sékou Mara
Willy Caballero
Stuart Armstrong
Mohamed Elyounoussi
Paul Onuachu
Adam Armstrong
Romain Perraud
Moussa Djenepo

Leicester City

Danny Ward (GK)
Ricardo Pereira
Timothy Castagne
Harry Souttar
Wout Faes
James Maddison (C) yellow card
Harvey Barnes yellow card
replace Dennis Praet (45′)
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Nampalys Mendy
replace Wilfred Ndidi (68′)
replace Jamie Vardy (68′)
Kelechi Iheanacho
Dennis Praet
Patson Daka
Daniel Amartey
Wilfred Ndidi
Daniel Iversen
Çaglar Söyüncü
Boubakary Soumaré
Jamie Vardy
Luke Thomas
Sellés praises Alcaraz contribution
Saints vs Leicester

Sellés praises Alcaraz contribution

Manager pleased with match-winning midfielder in more advanced role.

timeTue 07 Mar
Video: Access all areas for Leicester win Audio description highlights: Saints 1-0 Leicester
Gallery: West Ham work SFC_Camera
West Ham vs Saints

Gallery: West Ham work

Saints prepare for the trip to West Ham.

time14 hours ago
B Team Preview: Derby County vs Saints Win a tour of Staplewood training ground