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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
00:54 1st July 2015
By  Simon Williams

REPORT: Southampton 2-2 Leicester

England striker Jamie Vardy netted two second-half goals as Leicester came from behind to earn a point at St Mary’s.

Saints led 2-0 at half-time thanks to goals from defensive duo José Fonte and Virgil van Dijk, but the Premier League team that has earned more points than any other when losing so far this season, repeated the trick to take a share of the spoils from this game.

The hosts had been clinical in the first half performance as they struck two goals from set-pieces as the centre-backs weighed in with a goal each inside the opening 37 minutes.

Fonte was first up as he celebrated his new contract with a first strike since February 2014 with a  close range header, before van Dijk scored his second goal in as many home games for 2-0.

After the break Saints appeared to have a hold on a fired up Leicester side who introduced pacy pair Nathan Dyer and Riyad Mahrez to their side, but the Foxes got a goal back on 66 minutes through Vardy, who headed Dyer’s cross in from close range.

The striker left it late to strike again late on, as the in-form forward put paid to Saints’ hopes of earning a fourth consecutive win in all competitions.

Ronald Koeman was without Shane Long and Maarten Stekelenburg after the duo picked up injuries in the week, but Jordy Clasie made his first appearance in a Premier League squad by taking up a place on the substitutes’ bench. 

Kelvin Davis replaced Stekelenburg between the posts, while James Ward-Prowse replaced Oriol Romeu in the only other change from the team that started the win at Chelsea a fortnight ago.

Leicester got the game under way and made a swift advance towards the Chapel Stand where Christian Fuchs delivered a teasing cross which Kelvin Davis pushed out of the area.

The Foxes continued to make an early impression though, and created a good opportunity in the fifth minute when Marc Albrighton’s cross into the area from the right was met by Jamie Vardy who just got in front of Cédric, but put the ball over from close range.

It took Saints a little while to get going but in the 11th minute, Mané and Cédric combined well down the right, and a good cross from the full-back was headed out by Danny Simpson.
Koeman’s men turned up the pressure from the resulting corner which saw Virgil van Dijk’s header cleared from the line by Danny Drinkwater.

Graziano Pellè fired a further warning over from the right, before Saints took the lead in the 21st minute following a series of corners in quick succession. The second one delivered in by Tadić on the right was met by José Fonte, whose header across goal found the bottom left for his first goal since February 2014.

A lengthy stoppage ensued just past the half hour mark when Cédric clashed with Jeff Schlupp which left the full back needing to receive treatment for a head injury before returning to the action.

Cédric was back up on his feet in the 36th minute to lay the ball into Sadio Mané who checked back before curling a shot towards the bottom left corner which Kasper Schmeichel pushed behind for a corner.

After the initial set-piece came up short on the right, Ward-Prowse received the ball back to deliver a cross which yielded the hoists’ second goal of the game.

Pellè’s initial header came back off the post and to the feet of Van Dijk who also hit the post as he took two bites of the cherry to smash the ball in from a yard out for 2-0.

Leicester ended the half with a couple of reminders of their ability with Drinkwater seeing a shot tipped over by Davis, before Robert Huth fired wide on the back of a corner.

Saints were comfortable in possession though as they completed the opening 45 minutes with a two-goal margin intact.

Former Saint Nathan Dyer entered the action for Leicester in a double switch made by the visitors at the break, with the duo replacing Okazaki and Schlupp.

As expected with nothing to lose, Leicester showed greater attacking intent after the break, with Vardy taking aim at Davis from range as an early tester.

Saints nearly caught the Foxes out on the break in the 52nd minute when Mané burst onto Wanyama’s pass through the middle. The Senegalese beat Kasper Schmeichel in a race to the ball, but Simpson’s vital toe-in robbed the frontman of a clear shooting opportunity from outside the area.

Having contained Leicester’s wave of attack, Saints brought on both Maya Yoshida and Jordy Clasie to strengthen their defensive line further.

But after Leicester substitute Riyad Mahrez clipped an effort narrowly wide following a loose pass from midfield, the visitors got a goal back on 66 minutes. Fellow substitute Nathan Dyer got a cross in from the right side of the area, and Vardy headed in at the near post for his sixth strike in as many games to make it 2-1.

After a battling quarter of an hour, The Foxes nearly headed into the final ten minutes on level terms when Mahrez picked out Vardy in the area, but the striker couldn’t keep his shot down,

Leicester continued to apply pressure, with Saints relying on the counter-attack to keep the visitors at bay in the closing stages.

But the hosts couldn’t hold out, and when the ball span loose from midfield into the path of Mahrez, the Algerian hooked it into the path of Vardy who grabbed his second of the game with an emphatic finish inside the area to dramatically rescue a point for Claudio Ranieri’ side.

Southampton team: Kelvin Davis, Cédric (Maya Yoshida 60), José Fonte (c), Virgil van Dijk, Ryan Bertrand, Victor Wanyama, James Ward-Prowse, Steven Davis (Jordy Clasie 60), Dušan Tadić (Jay Rodriguez 75), Sadio Mané, Graziano Pellè. Unused substitutes: Paulo Gazzaniga (GK), Steven Caulker, Oriol Romeu, Juanmi

Booked: Wanyama (22), Bertrand (76)

Goals: Fonte (21), Van Dijk (37)

Leicester team: Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Simpson, Wes Morgan (c), Robert Huth, Christian Fuchs, N’Golo Kanté, Danny Drinkwater, Marc Albrighton, Jeff Schlupp (Nathan Dyer 46), Jamie Vardy, Shinji Okazaki (Riyad Mahrez 46). Unused substitutes: Mark Schwarzer (GK), Ritchie De Laet, Andy King, Yoan Benlouane, Gökhan Inler

Goals: Vardy (66) & (90)

Referee: Paul Tierney

Attendance: 31,559 (including 2,650 away) 

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    St Mary's has been home to Saints since 2001