Jonny Evans

Evans Header Sees City Go Four Unbeaten

Leicester City were held by the 10 men of Southampton as they registered a 1-1 Premier League draw at St. Mary's Stadium on Friday night.
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As Leicester City contested a second Premier League fixture in the space of just five days, manager Brendan Rodgers was able to name an unchanged starting XI and substitutes’ bench for his side’s clash with Southampton.

It was a fast-paced start at St. Mary's Stadium, and Kyle Walker-Peters had the ball in the net after just two minutes, however after latching onto Jannik Vestergaard's long ball and firing home, the offside flag went up and the goal was disallowed.

Then, it took an alert Kasper Schmeichel to get down to Nathan Tella's low strike after Takumi Minamino won it for the Saints, with the effort coming inside the opening eight minutes. 

However, after some early pressure from the Saints, they were reduced to 10 men after just 10 minutes. Vestergaard was dispossessed on the edge of the box by Jamie Vardy, and was shown a straight red after a heavy challenge on the City striker. From the resulting free-kick, after Vardy received treatment, James Maddison curled wide.

Southampton showed purpose, though, and Schmeichel had to make an important save on 17 minutes as he beat away Nathan Redmond's powerful 25-yard drive. 

The Foxes dominated possession of the ball throughout the first period, and probed as the Saints looked to absorb the pressure. On 37 minutes, Ndidi slipped a pass into Youri Tielemans, whose well-struck effort was turned away by Alex McCarthy in the Southampton net.

As the first half approached stoppage time, a knock-down from Timothy Castagne fell to the feet of the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho, however the Nigeria star had his shot blocked and Castagne was eventually adjudged to be offside.

A change in personnel and formation followed at the interval, with Wesley Fofana making way for Ayoze Pérez as City went in search of a crucial first goal against Ralph Hasenhüttl's 10-man Saints side.

McCarthy was twice on hand to collect the ball around 10 minutes into the second half, with the latter occasion seeing him smother a deflected Castagne cross from the right flank.

However, while City looked to dominate proceedings, Southampton took the lead from the spot. Stuart Armstrong's strike hit the arm of Iheanacho in the Leicester box, and after the Saints were awarded a penalty, James Ward-Prowse was on target from 12 yards just after the hour mark.

Off-target attempts from Maddison and Tielemans followed, while the former forced McCarthy into a good save with a curler and then the Saints stopper was alert to tip Pérez's attempt over the bar. 

The Foxes piled on the pressure and they were rewarded on 68 minutes when Evans flicked home Iheanacho's well-weighted cross as the Northern Ireland defender got in between Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens to score his second goal in three games.

Rodgers then made his second switch of the evening as Marc Albrighton replaced Luke Thomas with just over 20 minutes to play, with Leicester going in search of all three Premier League points for a third-straight game.

The Foxes proceeded to pepper the Southampton goal, and would rarely surrender possession of the ball after Evans' leveller. It took a fine last-ditch header from Walker-Peters on 80 minutes to nod away from Vardy, who looked to get a touch on Albrighton's cross at the far post.

Another big chance followed, and it was Iheanacho who once again played the role of creator as he turned and found Maddison, who then picked out Vardy, but the No.9, after cutting onto his right foot, saw his effort saved by the legs of McCarthy.

Opportunities to win it continued to arrive for Leicester. After a lovely pass from Tielemans picked out Vardy, the frontman danced inside from the left and teed up Wilfred Ndidi, who couldn't direct his shot on target.

With a minute of normal time remaining, Albrighton whipped a cross in from the right, and while it was just too high for Iheanacho, McCarthy's attempt to clear very nearly flew into the back of his own net.

Just as the fourth official's board went up to signal three additional minutes, Castagne side-footed wide at the far post after an inviting pass from Tielemans found his Belgium team-mate, but he couldn't convert and the Saints were able to see out City's pressure.

Major moment

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Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy was denied by Alex McCarthy, who made an important save at 1-1.

After Jonny Evans had cancelled out James Ward-Prowse's penalty, an opportunity to seal all three points fell to the feet of City's all-time top Premier League goalscorer, Jamie Vardy.

Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison were both involved in the build-up, and after Vardy evaded one challenge and worked the ball onto his right foot, he had space to shoot from just six yards out.

But his low strike was saved by Alex McCarthy, who did well to spread himself at the front post to prevent City's No.9 from firing home the winner.

Who impressed?

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Youri Tielemans

Matt Elliott felt Youri Tielemans delivered a consistent performance against the Saints.

Speaking on LCFC Radio’s Matchday Live, co-commentator Matt Elliott said: “All things considered, I’ll go with Youri Tielemans. He was trying to make something happen throughout the game. It didn’t quite come off, but he was always trying to make that difference."

Where do we stand?

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Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho set up Jonny Evans for the equaliser in Southampton.

After their 34th Premier League outing of 2020/21, the Foxes remain third in the table. They now have a points tally of 63 with just four matches of the league campaign to play.

They have also surpassed the total number of points they accumulated in 2019/20.

Coming up…

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Wilfred Ndidi

Wilfred Ndidi brings the ball under control on the south coast.

City now have a week until they are back in action. They will host Newcastle United in the Premier League on Friday 7 May (8pm kick-off), before travelling to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Wednesday 12 May (6pm kick-off).

All times BST.




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