Maddison cracks stubborn Saints as Leicester go second

Harvey Barnes added the Foxes' second goal deep in injury-time
Maddison cracks stubborn Saints as Leicester go second

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring 

Premier League: Leicester 2 Southampton 0

James Maddison scored a stunning goal in front of watching England head coach Gareth Southgate to move Leicester City up to second place in the Premier League, a point behind leaders Manchester United.

The 24-year-old playmaker scored his seventh goal of the season to breach Southampton’s defence for the first time in 382 minutes, before Harvey Barnes netted a deserved second with virtually the last kick.

Maddison’s heroics made it a memorable night for his team-mate, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who produced three smart saves on his 400th appearance for the club.

And Maddison’s goal helped stretch Leicester’s unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions, taking 11 points out of their last 15.

Leicester deserved their victory after creating the lion’s share of the chances, although Stuart Armstrong rattled the bar for Southampton.

Jamie Vardy missed two headers and was foiled by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy on another occasion, Barnes forced two saves and substitute Ayoze Perez missed in a one on one.

The first save came in the 19th minute from Leicester’s opening attack.

Marc Albrighton squared to Vardy, who cleverly dummied to allow Barnes to provide a sidefooted effort from just inside the box which was palmed away by McCarthy diving to his right.

Southampton returned fire when Che Adams took on Jonny Evans and unleashed an angled drive that was parried by Schmeichel.

Leicester created the next opening when Maddison let fly from 20 yards but his effort curled comfortably over the bar.

The home side began to assert some authority on the game and Vardy had their next opportunity, only to completely miss his kick from Albrighton’s pull back.

But the Foxes made up for that with a superb goal in the 38th minute.

Maddison turned on to a rolled pass from Tielemans and showed strength to hold off centre back Jack Stephens and a turn of pace as he ran into the box before rifling an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

Maddison was no doubt bursting with elation but, in keeping with the Premier League’s new protocols under COVID-19, there was a muted celebration as he initially stood alone, shooing his team-mates away before performing imaginary handshakes prior to a high five with Barnes.

Schmeichel was in action again though, to produce a superb, one-handed save to deny Ryan Bertrand following an angled drive.

Southampton went close within two minutes of the restart when Armstrong teed up William Smallbone for a rising drive that was palmed away by Schmeichel diving to his left.

Saints midfielder Ibrahima Diallo was walking a disciplinary tightrope after being booked in the first half and he escaped a second after appearing to hold back Maddison.

Leicester’s players screamed for action but referee Stuart Attwell waved away their protests.

Leicester’s first attack of the second half saw Vardy glance a header over the bar from Barnes’s cross, which forced him to take a step backwards.

The same combination should have done better in the 68th minute.

Barnes crossed and Vardy was well-positioned six yards out but could only plant his header over the bar again.

Southampton went close again in the 73rd minute when Stuart Armstrong hit the bar with a rising drive.

But Leicester were denied three more times in a strong finish.

Barnes’s lob was hacked off the line by Jan Bednarek, then McCarthy blocked brilliantly from Vardy after James Justin left the striker one on one.

Substitute Ayoze Perez fired well over from point-blank range after Albrighton split the defence.

Barnes grabbed Leicester’s second when Tielemans put him through and the winger beat McCarthy with a neat sidefooted finish.

There was bad news for Stephen Kenny, when Irish youngster Will Smallbone was taken off after suffering what looked a nasty injury during the second half.

And Leicester had their own injury concern when Vardy limped off late on with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Leicester City (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel 8; Castagne 7, Fofana 7 (Soyuncu 53 mins, 6), Evans 6, Justin 6; Ndidi 6, Tielemans 6; Albrighton 6, Maddison 8 (Perez 76 mins, 6), Barnes 7; Vardy 7 (Iheanacho 90+1 mins, 6).

Substitutes: Ward, Amartey, Under, Pereira, Mendy, Thomas.

Booked: Fofana, Albrighton.

Southampton (4-2-2-2): McCarthy 8; Walker-Peters 6, Bednarek 7, Stephens 6, Bertrand 7; Diallo 5 (Valery 87 mins, 6), Ward-Prowse 6; Armstrong 7, Smallbone 7 (N’Lundulu 61 mins, 6); Walcott 6, Adams 7 (Long 72 mins, 6).

Substitutes: Vokins, Forster, Ferry, Tchaptchet, Watts, Chauke.

Booked: Diallo, Bertrand.

Referee: Stuart Attwell 7/10

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