Football

Leicester's woes continue with heavy loss

SOUTHAMPTON LEICESTER
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(Ward-Prowse 26, Rodriguez 39, Tadic 86-pen)

 

Leicester City waded closer towards relegation trouble yesterday, after plunging to a 3-0 loss to Southampton at St Mary's.

Premier League champions last season, the Foxes are now five points away from the bottom-three.

The defeat was their 11th in 22 league games so far this season.

Instead, it was the Saints who showed their resilience by turning on the style, despite the saga involving their former captain Jose Fonte.

Fonte joined top-flight rivals West Ham in an £8 million (S$14.1m) move on Friday, with the Portugal defender having been dropped by Southampton manager Claude Puel earlier this month after he handed in a transfer request.

But the Saints, no stranger to seeing their players leave for more lucrative offers at "bigger" English clubs during the transfer window, shrugged off Fonte's loss to end a run of four straight Premier League defeats in style.

The hosts were 2-0 up before half-time, thanks to goals from James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez.

The south coast side wrapped up just their seventh league win of the current campaign four minutes from time, when Dusan Tadic scored from the penalty spot.

Victory was just the boost Southampton needed ahead of their League Cup semi-final second-leg clash against Liverpool on Thursday morning (Singapore time), with the Saints taking a 1-0 lead to Anfield.

Southampton made a bright start, with Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel making a good save to deny Nathan Redmond before Demarai Gray tested Fraser Forster at the other end.

But the goal the hosts had been threatening arrived in the 26th minute after a fluid attack.

Cedric Soares sped down the right and cut the ball back to Ward-Prowse, whose first-time curling shot just had enough power to beat the diving Schmeichel.

It was Ward-Prowse's first goal in 22 games in all competitions for the club since he was on target against West Ham on Sept 25.

Ward-Prowse then turned provider as Southampton doubled their lead 13 minutes later.

Poor defending has been a feature of Leicester's play this season, and another example came when Claudio Ranieri's side failed to deal with Ward-Prowse's free-kick into the box.

The ball skimmed off Leicester centre back Wes Morgan's head and Rodriguez fired home from close range.

Southampton, who three days after their Liverpool clash face Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Cup, thought they had a third goal 15 minutes from time when Morgan, under pressure from Maya Yoshida, put Tadic's free-kick into his own net.

But referee Michael Oliver, after consulting with his linesman, disallowed the "goal" for a marginal offside decision.

Morgan, however, fell foul of the officials when he brought down Shane Long inside the box to concede a penalty, with Tadic firing the ensuing spot-kick high past Schmeichel and into the roof of the net. - AFP

eplLeicester CitySouthampton