Philip Billing’s first-half goal condemned Leicester to their seventh defeat in eight games in all competitions.
Three changes saw Daniel Amartey, Boubakary Soumaré and Ricardo Pereira return to the XI, lined up in a 4-2-3-1 shape. For the second time, coaches Adam Sadler and Mike Stowell were in charge on Filbert Way.
In truth, the first 45 minutes were the opposite of what anyone in blue wanted or expected, and Bournemouth capitalised. The Cherries started the day two points ahead of Leicester but still beneath the dotted line. Each side knew victory would lift them above it. Billing’s free-kick ricocheted off the post and wide inside five minutes. Harvey Barnes had an early half-chance, easily collected by Neto in the Bournemouth net. Timothy Castagne also drilled wide on the edge of the area. Gary O’Neill’s south coast outfit advanced every time the opportunity to do so arose, with Victor Kristiansen diving in to halt Billing’s low drive. The Dane, at the other end, then crossed for Jamie Vardy, who couldn’t quite get there to finish.
Bournemouth went close again midway through the half. Joe Rothwell’s corner was nodded clear by Amartey, but into Billing’s path, on the edge of the 18-yard box. He hit it sweetly, aiming for the inside bottom corner. Iversen read it, tipping the ball around the post. Nearing the half-hour, it was the visitors who were decisively on top. Dango Ouattara fizzed the ball into the middle of their area, before Dominic Solanke spun on the spot and flashed it wide. The Cherries were in front, too, before the interval. Leicester couldn’t keep the ball and James Maddison – so important for this Foxes side – was the next to relinquish it, inadvertently teeing up Billing to convert past Iversen.
Into the second half, a stark improvement was needed. Bournemouth came out fastest, testing Iversen almost immediately. The young stopper, however, did well to get in the way of Billing’s effort after he darted into the area. Some last-ditch defending and goalkeeping was all that stood between the Cherries and a second goal moments later. Chris Mepham’s close-range header was palmed away by Iversen before Jack Stephens also found the Dane in his way from the tightest of angles.
Leicester broke, with Maddison driving forward and offloading it to Vardy to cross from the right channel. But Barnes couldn’t get there. It summed up City’s afternoon. Nothing was falling for them. It was a rare home chance, however. Bournemouth were dominant – and they were coming for more. Solanke drilled it at Iversen, who saved well, and then Marcus Tavernier’s shot hit a brave Kristiansen inside the area. King Power Stadium was lifted just before the hour by the introduction of Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka. Vardy and Ricardo Pereira were the ones to make way. Two in attack.
Maddison launched it at goal from 20 yards, forcing Neto to push it over the bar and concede a corner. Better. The Brazilian ‘keeper, though, was able to comfortably seize Wout Faes’ header. Barnes was next to test Neto. After playing a one-two with Daka, City’s No.7 was away in the area, but was denied by an excellent point-blank save. Leicester were pushing but not breaking through. The clock was ticking too. There was hope when Barnes skidded the ball across the area and Iheanacho bulldozed into Mepham to steal the ball and shoot. Neto saved and the referee indicated play-on, suggesting any goal would have been disallowed in any case. Barnes had hurt himself in the move too. Tetê was now on.
The winger would soon be knocking a loose ball wide. Nothing was working. Maddison’s free-kick was headed across goal by Iheanacho, but it was cleared again. Kristiansen’s long-ranger flew well over too. A magnificent challenge from Faes on Solanke got the rapturous applause it deserved – when the Bournemouth man was clear on goal. The visitors instantly took the sting out again, though. They continued to push and Leicester were struggling to contain them. Amartey’s block stopped Ryan Christie. Daka’s over-head kick in added time was City’s last attempt. A painful defeat in the Premier League.
Major moment – The goal
Philip Billing scores the goal which ultimately sealed the points.
Philip Billing’s goal, with five minutes of the first half to go, was ultimately the difference. City tried to get back into it, but couldn’t get through.
Where does it leave us? – 19th
Tetê keeps control of the ball in the second half.
The Foxes are 19th in the Premier League table, on 25 points. There's eight games to play and they're two points from 17th-placed Everton.
Coming up – Man City (A)
James Maddison goes for goal for the Foxes.
Leicester visit Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City next in the Premier League next Saturday (5:30pm kick-off). Wolverhampton Wanderers are then due at King Power Stadium on Saturday 22 April (3pm kick-off). All times BST.
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