Premier League: 10-man Leicester City hold on for win at Hull
Last Updated: 28/12/14 6:21pm
Leicester City claimed their first Premier League win since September after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Hull at the KC Stadium.
Riyad Mahrez's well-taken strike just after the half hour mark proved to be the game's deciding moment before each side were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages on Humberside.
The Algeria international produced the brightest moment of an uneventful opening 45 minutes to curl a well-directed shot past Allan McGregor.
Hull rarely threatened going forward in the first half and Steve Bruce rung the changes after the interval with Nikica Jelavic, Tom Ince and Abel Hernandez coming on in the second period to bolster the Tigers attack.
And it worked as the hosts put Nigel Pearson's side under real pressure in pursuit of an equaliser as both Hernandez and Jake Livermore struck the woodwork.
Paul Konchesky saw red for a second bookable offence after a shoulder check on Ahmed Elmohamady, and Hull really intensified the pressure on the away goal with their extra-man advantage.
But last man Stephen Quinn's deliberate handball prevented a Leicester counter attack in the final moments. He was shown a straight red by Phil Dowd and that ensured the visitors would take the points back to the Midlands after claiming a first league win in three months to move within three points of Hull who remain 17th.
Hull’s ten game wait for Premier League win came to an end after their 3-1 Boxing Day victory at Sunderland, and the hosts were evidently buoyed by that result.
But for all of their endeavour in the opening exchanges both sides enjoyed a similar start to proceedings, with neither able to carve out a clear sight of goal in a cagey and well-contested start to the game.
Leicester summer signing Esteban Cambiasso gradually grew in prowess, as too did Mahrez as the pair started to dictate their side’s opportunities on the Hull goal. And it was no surprise to see them involved in what turned out to be the game’s only goal.
McGregor’s goal-kick was headed to Leonardo Ulloa by Esteban Cambiasso. The Argentine flicked the ball into the path of David Nugent who picked out Mahrez on the right and, after cutting inside Hull midfielder Quinn and Liam Rosenior, he curled the ball low past the Scot.
Hull looked to turn up the pressure before the break and went in search of the equaliser. Gaston Ramirez and Livermore - who filled in for the suspended James Chester - linked up well in midfield but saw their flamboyant counter cleared by Mahrez.
The Algerian’s clearance though felt at the feet of Meyler who found midfield partner Quinn. The Irishman turned and whipped the ball across the face of goal where Elmohamady managed to guide the ball into the stands from six yards.
Steve Bruce may have felt his side lacked a presence up front and at half time he tried to bolster his attack by bringing on Jelavic in place of Ramirez at the break.
But similar to the start of the game, an edgy affair unravelled with chances at a premium. The visitors came close to doubling their lead just before the hour, but substitute Chris Wood couldn’t control Cambiasso’s instinctive quick free-kick.
Livermore thought he had capitalised on Danny Simpson’s scuffed clearance, heading goal wards only to see his effort come off the woodwork.
Substitute Hernandez tested Leicester keeper Ben Hamer’s reactions with a first-time volley from Elmohamady’s quick throw-in seconds before the Uruguayan headed the resulting corner onto the post for his side's second hitting of the frame of the goal in the game.
Konchesky was booked for a second time for an innocuous shoulder charge on Elmohamady which gave the hosts a glimmer of hope but those hopes were dashed when Quinn saw red five minutes later for clearly blocking a Leicester counter with his hands.
Hull City: McGregor (6), Livermore (6), Bruce (5), Davies (5), Rosenior (5), Elmohamady (6) Meyler (5) Quinn (4), Brady (5), Aluko (5), Ramirez (5).
Used subs: Hernandez (5), Jelavic (5), Ince (6).
Leicester City: Hamer (6), Simpson (5), Wasliewski (5), Morgan (5), Konchesky (4), Mahrez (8), Cambiasso (6), James (5), Schlupp (7), Nugent (7), Ulloa (6).
Used subs: de Laet (5), Drinkwater (4), Wood (4).
Man of the Match: Riyad Mahrez.