Football

Vardy’s back in the goals for champions

Striker and Morgan seal it for the Foxes

LEICESTER CITY 2

(Vardy 32, Morgan 52)

SWANSEA CITY 1

(Fer 80)

Jamie Vardy’s first goal of the season set Leicester on their way to the first victory of their Premier League title defence as Swansea were beaten at the King Power Stadium.

Vardy, the champions’ leading scorer last season with 24 goals, got off the mark for the new campaign in typical fashion by emphatically finishing a lovely Leicester move.

Wes Morgan doubled the lead early in the second half before Riyad Mahrez saw a penalty saved by Lukasz Fabianski and Leroy Fer headed a goal back for Swansea late on.

The victory meant Leicester avoided becoming the first champions since Manchester United in 2007/08 to begin the defence of their title without winning any of their first three matches.

STRETCHED

In the opening minute Shinji Okazaki stretched out a leg to reach Robert Huth’s flick-on froma Christian Fuchs long throw but was unable to get a telling contact to worry Fabianski.

Mahrez curled a free-kick over the sbar after Federico Fernandez had brought down Vardy on the edge of the area with a mis-timed sliding tackle that earned the Argentinian defender a 10th-minute yellow card.

Leicester enjoyed a period of pressure midway through the first half which saw Danny Drinkwater glance a header across the face of goal and a Vardy pull back from the byeline scrambled clear. Leicester were knocking on the door, but Swansea reminded them they were a threat on the break and Gylfi Sigurdsson twice worked Kasper Schmeichel either side of the half hour mark with shots from the edge of the box.

In the 32nd minute Leicester took the lead. Daniel Amartey tracked back to tackle and win the ball.

He played a one-two with Drinkwater just in front of his own area before playing a ball up to Mahrez, who cushioned a header to Drinkwater.

Then, as we saw many times last season, Drinkwater dropped a pass behind the Swansea defence for Vardy to chase. Vardy out-paced Jordi Amat and held him off before blast-ing a right-foot shot into the net via the inside of the near post.

Fabianski had to push away a fiercely-struck shot from Okazaki to prevent Leicester from going into half-time with a two-goal lead.

BEAUTY

However, seven minutes after the restart it was 2-0. If the first goal was a thing of beauty, the second was sheer luck and about being in the right place at the right time.

Huth’s header from a corner ricocheted into the path of Morgan who simply hammered the ball home. Leicester should have extended their lead after 56 minutes when Amat brought down Okazaki inside the box but Mahrez’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Fabianski diving to his right.

An eventful start to the second half concluded with Schmeichel waving to the bench asking to be substituted. Summer signing Ron-Robert Zieler replaced the injured Dane.

He was beaten with nine minutes remaining when Fer brilliantly powered his header from Modou Barrow’s cross into the bottom corner of the net. Mahrez and substitute Ahmed Musa had late chances to restore Leicester’s two-goal lead but neither did.

Rodriguez strikes late to rescue Puel’s men

SOUTHAMPTON 1

(Rodriguez 85)

SUNDERLAND 1

(Defoe 80 pen)

Jay Rodriguez’s first League goal since March 2014 salvaged Southampton a draw after Jermain Defoe thought his penalty had handed Sunderland victory.

Stand-in Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s mistake gifted the leveller, with the Black Cats’ deputy allowing Rodriguez’s strike to slip under his body. Rodriguez has spent the last two years battling serious knee ligament trouble, but the 27-year-old will insist his late goal underscores his lasting abilities. Defoe’s unrivalled sharpness so nearly sealed a vital win on the road for David Moyes’ men, but in the end both sides remain winless in the League.

eplLeicester CityJames Vardy