James Maddison

A Point Apiece For Leicester & Southampton On South Coast

Leicester City twice fought back from a goal down to earn a Premier League point at Southampton on Wednesday evening.
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Brendan Rodgers named the same XI as the one which secured a 4-2 victory over Watford at King Power Stadium on Sunday, with Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes on the flanks, supporting Jamie Vardy up front. 

It was the Saints who carved out the first opportunity. After just 90 seconds, James Ward-Prowse's short free-kick was crossed into the area by Oriol Romeu. Jan Bednarek then headed it across goal, but Kasper Schmeichel was able to stop Leicester-born Ché Adams' nodded effort.

The Dane could do little to prevent Bednarek from close range, however, following another short set-piece routine, worked by Ward-Prowse and Nathan Tella from a corner. City's No.1 had done outstandingly to get a hand to Mohammed Salisu's initial effort. Bednarek's strike, though, was too powerful.

On 13 minutes, Barnes linked up well with James Maddison, who threaded his return pass through to the Academy graduate. A decoy run from Luke Thomas then allowed the England winger to cross into the box. Shot-stopper Alex McCarthy was able to collect it at his far post, but the visitors were advancing.

Shortly afterwards, Maddison's pin-point free-kick landed on the inside of Wilfred Ndidi's left boot, but the linesman's flag was already up before the Nigeria international could knock the ball inches wide of the far post. Bednarek then turned Lookman's cross, aimed at Vardy, behind for a corner.

Although Ralph Hasenhüttl's side were able to clear the initial delivery, it came back in after tricky wing play from Maddison. The ball landed for Lookman, who dragged it across to Ndidi, just inside the area. While McCarthy parried his low drive, Jonny Evans was lurking to convert from close range. One apiece. 

It was a reward for the 1,986 members of the Blue Army who had made the 146-mile trip down south. They almost had another reason to cheer on 25 minutes as Maddison silkily evaded his man and arrowed a low shot towards the bottom corner. McCarthy was just able to get a hand to it again.

Southampton soon stepped up efforts to restore a lead which had lasted only 19 minutes. A shimmy from Adams enabled the Scotland striker to dodge both Çağlar Söyüncü and Thomas, on the angle of the area, but Schmeichel was alert to his to curler. Adams would eventually make his mark, though.

The Saints were 2-1 ahead seconds later as the Saints No.10 glanced Nathan Redmond's cross into the bottom far corner. They could have doubled that advantage, too, as Adam Armstrong located Tella on the left. Schmeichel, however, was able to position himself well to scoop it up off the turf.

At the other end, Boubakary Soumaré rode a challenge in the centre and emerged with the ball on the periphery of the area. He offloaded it to Lookman, who then tried to pick out Ndidi. To City's frustration, the Saints backline were able to prevent Leicester's No.25 from pulling the trigger. 

When Redmond slipped a ball through to Ward-Prowse, on the other hand, alarm bells were ringing for Leicester as the Southampton skipper immediately sent it skidding across the six-yard box. To City's relief, Timothy Castagne was on hand to hack the ball away. Southampton led, but only by one, at the break.

Half an hour after the conclusion of the first 45 minutes, following a medical emergency in the stands, the action was resumed. There was a singular change at the interval for the Foxes as Academy graduate Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall replaced Soumaré in midfield.

Three minutes in, Ndidi had the ball taken away from him by Ward-Prowse in a dangerous position, but the Saints midfielder's cross was headed well wide by Tella. It was a reprieve which would ultimately allow the Foxes to level the scores in emphatic fashion before the clock struck 50 minutes. 

An excellent turn from Maddison, which left Ward-Prowse on the floor, set the No.10 on his way. After circulating the ball between Barnes and Dewsbury-Hall, Maddison got it back, skipping inside Valentino Livramento, and riffling it into the bottom corner. Jubilation for the travelling faithful from the East Midlands.

It was so nearly 3-2 soon after as well. Maddison's free-kick was a clever one, inviting Vardy to scoop the ball up, narrowly lopping over McCarthy's bar. There were chances for both before the hour-mark. First, Dewsbury-Hall's hopeful strike was blocked, before Schmeichel collected Armstrong's effort.

Ayoze Pérez's introduction, replacing Lookman, then provided Rodgers' visitors with a different attacking option. A Barnes cross was later glanced wide by Vardy. Maddison's curler then flew high and wide. Momentum was building for the visitors – and they'd be inches from going ahead on 70 minutes.

Sublime skill from Pérez and a perfect first touch from Barnes handed the latter a clear route on goal. With just McCarthy to beat, Leicester's No.7 took aim for the bottom corner, but the home goalkeeper was able to get the tips of his fingers on it and divert the ball just wide of the far post.

The home crowd fell silent again with a quarter of an hour to go. A misjudged back pass fed Vardy with an unexpected opportunity to gallop at goal, without a red and white shirt in sight. The Club's joint-third all-time top goalscorer, though, was unable to pick out the upper right corner and it remained 2-2.

Rodgers' next intervention was to bring Zambia international Patson Daka onto the pitch, with Barnes making way. Although fraught in the latter moments, there was little real goalmouth action across the final 10 of normal time – until the fourth official's board went up and announced five additional minutes. 

Frantic defending was required in the Leicester box when Adams was played in, with Evans stepping across at just the right moment to clear. A long punt upfield eventually came to Daka, who used his fearsome pace to commute the ball forwards in a flash on the right flank. 

After waiting for the right moment, a low pass across the turf was cushioned, by Vardy, into Pérez. McCarthy, however, was able to claw it out of the near bottom post. In the end, both sides took a point from an occasionally end-to-end encounter which either side could have emerged from with three. 

Major moment

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James Maddison

The Foxes midfielder converts cooly from inside the area to make it 2-2.

In a match which hinged on moments of quality and others lacking in accuracy, James Maddison's 49th-minute equaliser for the Foxes sealed a potentially vital point for the visitors towards their wider 2021/22 objectives. It also means City are now unbeaten in three matches in all competitions. 

The speed with which Leicester's No.10 surged forwards, from deep within his own half, had the away end on its feet. Even considering the high expectations placed on a player of Maddison's ability, the skill on show from the 25-year-old to finish a move he orchestrated over 50 yards was particularly impressive.

Who impressed?

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James Maddison

The 25-year-old has been impressive across several games for Leicester over recent weeks.

Former Leicester City defender Matt Elliott told Matchday Live on LCFC Radio: "There's only one man. [James] Maddison was the standout. He oozed class. It's great to see him back somewhere close to his best. He started the move for the [second] goal and then he finished it 10 yards from the opposition's goal – all in one movement. It was a wonderful all-round piece of football from Maddison."

Where do we stand?

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Jonny Evans

Northern Irishman Jonny Evans is congratulated by his team-mates after getting on the scoresheet in the first half.

Leicester are eighth in the Premier League after 14 matches, with 19 points, and a goal difference of -3. 

Coming up...

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Çağlar Söyüncü

City's No.4 thanks the Blue Army for their terrific support at St. Mary's Stadium.

The Foxes travel to Birmingham on Sunday for a Premier League encounter with Aston Villa (4:30pm kick-off). Napoli then await at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on the final matchday of the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday evening (5:45pm kick-off).

All times GMT.

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