Abdul Fatawu

Fantastic Foxes Thump Saints

Abdul Fatawu’s hat-trick inspired Leicester City’s 5-0 demolition of Southampton on a vintage night at King Power Stadium which pushes the Foxes closer towards promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.

The sights and sounds of a bouncing Filbert Way were back again on Tuesday as City went four points clear at the summit with just two games to play. Fatawu's brilliant trio of goals took the headlines in City’s antepenultimate game of the season, with Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy also finding the net in an occasion to savour for the Blue Army. Now on 94 points, Leicester have responded impressively to successive defeats on the road with two wins on the spin back home to take control at this stage of a four-way battle for automatic promotion. This is a victory which all but ends Southampton’s hopes of finishing in the top two, but the Foxes must first ensure they’re out of the reach of their other rivals before contemplating the prospect of achieving the season’s main objective. They head to Preston North End on Monday before hosting Blackburn Rovers on the final day the following Saturday.

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Blue Army

The fans played their part on a significant night on Filbert Way.

The significance of the game was not lost on anyone inside King Power Stadium before kick-off. Following Saturday’s euphoric 2-1 success over West Bromwich Albion, the Manager made the decision to shuffle his pack for the second outing in four days. In came James Justin and Ricardo Pereira to refresh his defence to take on one of the division’s most potent attacking forces. Leicester would ultimately rip through the Saints with ruthless forward play of their own, but all the early signs suggested a tense, nervy night was on the cards in the first half. Maresca’s men had to lay the foundations first before going on to match their biggest win of a record-breaking campaign. It would end, though, with Maresca and his troupe of Foxes dancing the night away with the fans at full-time. 

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Wilfred Ndidi

Wilfred Ndidi nods City's second goal of the night.

An even opening 10 minutes of intricate play from both sides ended with Fatawu curling City’s first substantial chance into Alex McCarthy’s grasp in the Saints net. Ndidi then tried to whip it into the top corner from the left flank, but the Nigerian’s audacious hit whistled wide of the far post. The former Genk midfielder was there to nod wide later on as well. Vardy was then adjudged to have fouled Jan Bednarek when he bamboozled his way into the six-yard box to try and get onto a high ball in the box. It had looped up after McCarthy was forced to parry Stephy Mavididi’s shot from a tight angle. Leicester were pinning Russell Martin’s visitors in. In the 25th minute, they broke through in devastating fashion. It started with a brave Wout Faes challenge, certainly on the heavy side, but referee Robert Madley played on. Harry Winks picked up it, giving it quickly to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who sprayed it down the middle, straight to Fatawu. There were calls of offside from the away end, but the Ghanaian’s head was down and he slid the ball into the bottom corner without a moment's thought. 

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Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy glides towards the corner in celebration.

While light on incident, the Foxes were on top for the rest of the half, limiting Southampton’s opportunities to get forwards. It was the team in red and white who came out fastest after the break, with a vital James Justin interception preventing David Brooks from concerning Mads Hermansen. Fatawu continued to be a menace for City, too, although his two quick-fire efforts lacked the accuracy of his opener. Hermansen soon had to be alert to make a solid left-handed save to deny Adam Armstrong, not knowing the linesman’s flag was raised on the far side. As the clock struck the hour, the Blue Army were toasting another huge moment in Leicester’s season. It came as Mavididi recycled a stray ball on the periphery of the Saints’ box. The winger waited for the right moment before clipping it into the box, where Ndidi was loitering, ready to send a bullet header crashing through McCarthy and into the goal in front of the Spion Kop. A moment of brilliance would then put the game to bed and have City allowing themselves to dream of promotion with 75 on the clock. Fatawu, a splash of stardust on the right channel, cut inside and rocketed a lovely drive into the far corner. It was a goal of real quality – the sort we’ve seen before from the lively Sporting Lisbon loanee – but it could hardly have come at a better time to put Maresca’s men clear on the night.

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Abdul Fatawu

A hat-trick was a fitting reward for Abdul Fatawu's performance.

And yet there was more. King Power Stadium was rocking – like it has done on so many famous nights over the years – as one of the Club’s greatest ever players added a fourth. Fatawu turned provider, too, to skid the ball across the area, inviting Vardy to leave his mark on a memorable occasion for everyone with Leicester in their heart. It was a typically ruthless first-time finish from the City No.9, cannoning it hard and low into the bottom corner. The way he celebrated his 18th strike of the season, meanwhile, will surely end up being one of his most fondly remembered, hurling himself to the deck and sliding on his chest towards the corner flag. The hosts were not done yet, though, and it was five moments later. Dewsbury-Hall broke away down the centre. He had options to right and left, eventually choosing the latter after making ground on the Saints' goal. Vardy picked it up and decided to return the favour, giving Fatawu a tap-in at the far post to complete a stunning hat-trick at a delirious Filbert Way. There's work to do still, but this was big for Leicester City. Two games to go. 

Leicester City Crest





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