Brentford vs Leicester City. Premier League.
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Report and highlights as Leicester edge a point away from the relegation zone with a draw at Brentford which ends a five-game losing streak across all competitions; Mathias Jensen's deflected strike put hosts ahead before Harvey Barnes hit back; Bees stay eighth in Premier League
Saturday 18 March 2023 19:47, UK
Leicester ended a five-game losing streak with a battling 1-1 draw at Brentford, with Harvey Barnes finishing a fine move for the equaliser.
The result did little for Leicester's league position - they remain 16th, now a point above the drop zone - but under-pressure boss Brendan Rodgers will have been encouraged by the way his side changed the momentum of the game after the break.
Brentford capitalised on some wasteful finishing from the visitors in the first half, with Mathias Jensen (32) firing home a deflected strike after a corner routine caused chaos in the Leicester box.
The Foxes had lost on all eight occasions they had trailed in the Premier League at half-time this season but needed just seven second-half minutes to get back level in west London, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's industry in midfield followed by a fine through ball from James Maddison and Barnes' neat finish.
It would prove to be Leicester's only shot on target of the match but, after a frustrating few weeks which has seen them lose four in a row in the Premier League and crash out of the FA Cup at home to Championship side Blackburn, this will feel like a positive step. "It breaks the cycle of results we were on," said Rodgers afterwards. "We thoroughly deserved it."
Brentford had sub Shandon Baptiste sent off in the final minutes after he picked up two quick yellow cards but the draw extends their unbeaten run at home to 10 Premier League games. They move level on points with seventh-placed Brighton in the race for a European qualifying spot, although the Seagulls have two games in hand. Brentford go to Brighton after the international break.
Brentford: Raya (6), Henry (7), Mee (8), Pinnock (7), Hickey (7), Jensen (8), Norgaard (7), Damsgaard (6), Mbeumo (6), Toney (6), Wissa (6).
Subs: Schade (6), Dasilva (6), Baptiste (2), Jansson (N/A)
Leicester: Iversen (6), Pereira (6), Souttar (8), Amartey (7), Castagne (6), Dewsbury-Hall (7), Ndidi (7), Tete (6), Maddison (7), Daka (6), Barnes (8).
Subs: Vardy (6), Praet (6), Soumare (5), Iheanacho (N/A)
Player of the Match: Mathias Jensen (Brentford)
After seeing his side ship 21 goals in 11 games since the World Cup, Rodgers dropped goalkeeper Danny Ward for Premier League debutant Daniel Iversen and the Dane watched his defenders struggle to deal with a fast, direct start from the hosts.
Leicester looked to have come through that storm, with Barnes and Patson Daka shooting off target as the visitors began to control possession. But, after a warning shot from Bryan Mbeumo, Brentford grabbed the lead from a set-piece just after the half-hour.
Leicester struggled to deal with a well-worked corner and when it came to Jensen, he struck with conviction and got fortunate with a handy deflection. It was the 10th time in a row Leicester have conceded the first goal in a Premier League game.
Their lack of cutting edge looked set to be in focus again, but on 52 minutes Leicester produced a fine team move to get back into the game. Dewsbury-Hall shielded the ball from a couple of challenges, fed Maddison in the final third and the playmaker slipped in Barnes to lift the ball over David Raya.
It was Brentford's turn not to have a shot on target in the second half, with Harry Souttar doing well to limit Ivan Toney. Instead the final stages were marked by a series of fouls from subs.
Leicester's Boubakary Soumare made a game-high three during his cameo but Baptiste picked up two yellows in the space of just three minutes and 12 seconds to leave the home side to see out the remainder of injury-time with 10 men.
They did just that to continue their impressive record of suffering just one loss at home all season - but will feel they should have built on their first-half advantage, given their recent form.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank: "I think that was a fairly fair result for both sides. We came out with good energy and put pressure on Leicester and got a well-deserved lead. Unfortunately in the second half we couldn't keep it up.
"I said before the game we had to close down Maddison and Barnes. They're the top two offensive players they have in the team and they produced that brilliant goal. After that I felt we lacked the final quality, the structure we lost a little bit. That happens sometimes, on a day when none of the offensive players hit a top performance. The team worked very hard, I'm pleased with the effort."
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: "It breaks the cycle of results we were on. We thoroughly deserved it and in the second half we looked like we could go on and win it. I was really pleased with the fight and spirit of the team. We had to defend a lot of set-pieces today and I thought the players did that extremely well. Souttar was outstanding.
"I don't think there were many chances for either team but as the game wore on we got a very good goal and looked like we could win the game."
On the goalkeeper change: "It's important to give a goalkeeper a good run of games. I felt Danny Ward deserved that. I had a long conversation with him before the Chelsea game about what I expect from a goalkeeper and I felt after the Chelsea game I wanted a change. Wardy took it great. He can reflect on it. Daniel will come in and play and we go from there. I thought he did really well, really assured."
After the international break, Brentford go to Brighton for a 3pm kick-off on Saturday April 1, while Leicester visit Crystal Palace at the same time.