Norwich 1-2 Leicester: Jamie Vardy helps Foxes return to winning ways
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 03/10/15 6:45pm
Red-hot Jamie Vardy scored in his fifth consecutive Premier League game as Leicester claimed a 2-1 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road.
The England forward opened the scoring from the penalty spot just before the half-hour mark after he was brought down in the box by Sebastien Bassong.
Jeffrey Schlupp doubled the Foxes' lead soon after the break with a cool finish after a scintillating break up the field which he began himself.
Substitute Dieumerci Mbokani gave Norwich hope when he pulled one back in the 68th minute but the home side could not find an equaliser despite sustained pressure on the Leicester goal late on.
The game began in cautious fashion as both teams felt each other out with half chances for Cameron Jerome and Shinji Okazaki the closest either side came to crafting an opening in the first 20 minutes.
Claudio Ranieri surprisingly elected to drop in-form Riyad Mahrez for the game with Schlupp pushed forward into midfield and Christian Fuchs starting at left-back.
The move paid off as Schlupp proved a constant threat with Leicester's energetic high pressing - led from the front by Vardy - causing problems for Norwich.
Leicester came close to taking the lead on 25 minutes when Schlupp burst past two Norwich defenders into the box but Russell Martin produced a wonderful diving tackle to block his goal-bound shot.
The visitors soon crafted another good opportunity when Fuchs sent a long throw into the box which was flicked on by Vardy at the near post. Marc Albrighton looked certain to poke home from close range but failed to connect with goal gaping and John Ruddy then did well to deny Danny Drinkwater's follow-up shot.
However Leicester were rewarded for their pressure immediately afterwards when the ball was played through for Vardy and he got his body between the ball and Bassong, drawing a foul from the Norwich centre-back, which Mark Clattenburg punished by pointing to the spot. Vardy converted for his seventh league goal of the season.
The goal prompted Norwich to push further forward in search of an equaliser but Leicester looked menacing on the counter attack and almost doubled their lead just before half-time when Vardy sent in a dangerous cross which Alexander Tettey just manged to head clear with Okazaki luking.
Leicester did double their lead soon after half-time. Schlupp picked the ball up deep in his own half as Norwich turned over possession. He drove quickly up the pitch and played a one-two N'Golo Kante before coolly slotting the ball past Ruddy.
Alex Neil immediately sent Nathan Redmond as he sought to give his side a spark but they struggled to craft clear-cut scoring opportunities despite a succession of corners.
Mbokani was introduced just before the hour mark and the DR Congo striker immediately made an impact when he sent a header cannoning off Kasper Schmeichel's crossbar.
Mbokani gave Norwich a lifeline with his first ever Premier League goal soon after when he deftly flicked Jonny Howson's floated cross into the net.
Leicester substitute Leonardo Ulloa thought he had restored the visitors two-goal lead when he nodded home but Clattenburg spotted a push on Cameron Jerome in the build-up and the goal was disallowed.
As the game entered its stages a fourth goal looked likely with Norwich laying siege to the Leicester goal and Vardy providing a constant threat on the break at the other end.
Schmeichel produced a wonderful save to touch Redmond's fierce drive from a narrow angle onto the post two minutes from time.
There was a dramatic finale as the fourth official signalled six minutes of added time and both teams had chances to score.
The best chance fell to Redmond at the death when the ball fell to him in the box but Danny Drinkwater hurled himself in front of his shot which seemed destined for the back of the net and Leicester held on for all three points.
Soccer Saturday verdict - Phil Thompson
"This is a big win, and Leicester were excellent. Norwich began a passing game but Leicester pressed, working themselves into the game. As for the penalty, we've seen the same move from Vardy before. The Leicester striker throws himself into Bassong, and Clattenburg points to the spot, exactly the same as he did against Manchester United a few weeks ago.
"Vardy is on fire at the moment, and should be given a chance for England in the next couple of weeks. Schlupp added the pace that Mahrez would usually offer, and he was excellent. He starts the move for his goal, great movement, and he's got a fantastic left foot, driving it past Ruddy. Norwich made a great fist of the comeback, but it wasn't to be for them today."
Norwich: Ruddy (6), Whittaker (5), Martin (6), Bassong (5), Brady (6), Howson (6), Tettey (7), Dorrans (5), Jarvis (5), Hoolahan (6), Jerome (6)
Subs: Redmond (7), Mbokani (8), Lafferty (5)
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Simpson (6), Huth (6), Morgan (7), Fuchs (6), Albrighton (7), Drinkwater (7), Kante (6), Schlupp (7), Vardy (8), Okazaki (5)
Subs: King (6), Ulloa (6), Benalouane (6)
Man of the match: Jamie Vardy