Southampton vs Leicester City. Premier League.
St. Mary's StadiumAttendance26,951.
Report and free match highlights as Jan Bednarek fires Southampton ahead early on, but Jonny Evans equalises soon after; Che Adams' header sees Saints back ahead before half-time; superb James Maddison goal makes it 2-2, but Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy miss big chances for a third
Wednesday 1 December 2021 23:11, UK
Leicester fought back twice to take a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw against Southampton, although they will rue missing some late chances to secure the victory.
It did not take long for the goals to flow at St Mary's, with all three in the first half coming from corners. Leicester's set-piece frailties were exposed inside three minutes as Jan Bednarek poked home with the visitors unable to clear their lines.
But Southampton were also punished soon after as Jonny Evans (22) turned home for Leicester's first equaliser. The Saints went ahead again with their second corner of the game, Che Adams (34) nodding home from Nathan Redmond's cross.
The second half was delayed due to a medical emergency, although the fan in the stands left the stadium conscious and communicative.
Once played restarted, it did not take long for Leicester to equalise once again. It was a superb effort from James Maddison (49) - scoring his third goal in six games - as he fired home from a tight angle.
Leicester could have won it late on, but Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy saw huge chances pass them by with Brendan Rodgers unable to mark his 100th game in charge with a victory. The result sees Leicester into eighth on 19 points.
Southampton bounced back well after a 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool at the weekend, pulling five points clear of the relegation places in 16th.
Southampton began brightly at a wintery St Mary's and took advantage of their early pressure. A short corner found its way to Mohammed Salisu in a packed 18-yard box. His strike was superbly saved by Kasper Schmeichel, but Timothy Castagne could not find the control to kick the ball away which allowed a lurking Bednarek to poke a foot through and send the ball into the back of the net.
The play soon evened out, although Leicester were not creating too much - their best chance coming when Wilfred Ndidi poked a Maddison corner wide, only to be flagged for offside.
But in the 22nd minute, Leicester did equalise - now scoring and conceding in 14 successive away Premier League games. It was another corner that was not cleared properly, with Salisu seeing away a cross from Maddison. Ndidi then had a shot from range - which was well saved by McCarthy - but a lurking Evans managed to send the ball home.
Southampton: McCarthy (7), Walker-Peters (7), Bednarek (7), Salisu (7), Livramento (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Romeu (6), Tella (7), Redmond (7), Adams (7), Armstrong (6).
Subs used: Broja (6), Elyounoussi (7), Lyanco (n/a).
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Castagne (6), Soyuncu (7), Evans (7), Thomas (6), Soumare (6), Ndidi (6), Lookman (6), Maddison (8), Barnes (7), Vardy (6).
Subs used: Dewsbury-Hall (7), Perez (6), Daka (7).
Man of the match: James Maddison.
Leicester's set-piece frailties were exposed again though as Southampton re-established their lead after the half hour. Kyle Walker-Peters slotted the ball in for Redmond down the right, with the winger sending in an inviting corner. Adams was in the middle of the pack and nodded the ball past Schmeichel, scoring against his boyhood club.
The second half was delayed after a medical emergency in the stands. The fan was conscious and communicative as he was led away from the crowd and taken to hospital.
Four minutes after the restart, the Foxes equalised again after some lovely play from Maddison. The midfielder broke superbly after a slip from James Ward-Prowse. Second-half substitute Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes and Luke Thomas were all involved in working the chance, as the latter picked out Maddison.
It was some more superb skill that saw the England international skip over Tino Livramento's challenge before firing home past McCarthy at the near post.
Both sides continued to see half chances fall their way, but Leicester had two huge opportunities to add a third after the 70-minute mark. First, Barnes saw a lucky ball bounce into his path - Salisu unable to keep it under his control - but his strike was saved superbly by McCarthy. Vardy was then played in behind, the first time he had really seen the ball. However, he sent his effort high across the face of the goal.
It was an end-to-end finish to an entertaining encounter, as the points were rightly shared.
Maddison has not had an easy time recently, hit by injuries and a drop in form. But he looked back to his scintillating best at St Mary's, following up his goal on Sunday with another superb effort.
"Whenever we got him on the ball, he looked a real threat," Rodgers said of Maddison. "His goal was outstanding. He worked very, very hard, so very pleased for him."
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl: "I think we were brilliant in the first half, they had one chance to score. We had very good moments and played fantastic - exactly what we wanted to do.
"It wasn't easy after the Liverpool game to find our way back to a very brave way of playing football, but we learnt.
"In the second half, we came out well and had a big chance to get a third goal and this is what we have to do in such moments… They have so much quality in every position, you can see that.
"Because of the first half, it was a deserved point. It was a very good game for everybody to watch, it was a very intense game. It had a lot of intensity and a lot of effort that both teams put in so this is good.
"Congrats to Dave [Watson], he tried something new today with taking them [corners] shorter. It's always good when you have a set-piece coach who has some new ideas. We had a good few days working with the team and they did everything that we asked them to do. Finally, maybe this is why we deserved the point."
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers: "By the end, it was two points dropped. At half-time you might have taken the point, but second half, the reaction was much better.
"Like I've said before, there's a great resilience in our team, a great fightback second half. But in the first half, we didn't take on the burden of the game straight away. Even away from home, we're a team that likes to start on the front foot but we didn't start well at all and that was the disappointment.
"It's a lack of concentration [slow starts in the first half], it's a lack of aggression in key moments of the game and that's what hurts us at times. The two goals were really poor goals to concede and it just comes from not being aggressive enough and a lack of concentration.
"Once we got through a few times, we looked a threat and looked dangerous. In the first half, we needed to bring more energy and more quality into the game."
Southampton now host Brighton at 3pm on Saturday in the Premier League, while Leicester are at Aston Villa at 4.30pm on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.