Swansea City 1-2 Leicester City: Riyad Mahrez stars to help hand Michael Appleton first win
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 23/10/17 8:43am
Leicester beat Swansea 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium to hand Michael Appleton a win in his first game in temporary charge of the club.
The visitors took a 25th-minute lead when Swansea centre-back Federico Fernandez headed Riyad Mahrez's cross past his own goalkeeper, before Shinji Okazaki doubled their advantage four minutes after half-time.
However, despite the home side reducing the deficit thanks to Alfie Mawson's excellent finish (56), Leicester held on to end a run of six Premier League matches without a win.
Swansea: Fabianski (6), Naughton (6), Mawson (7), Fernandez (6), Olsson (6), Britton (6), Narsingh (6), Carroll (6), Sanches, (4), Ayew, (7) Abraham (7)
Subs: Ki (6), Dyer, (6) Routledge (6)
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Simpson (6), Morgan (7), Maguire (7), Fuchs (6), Iborra (7) Ndidi (7), Albrighton (7), Mahrez (9), Okazaki (8), Vardy (7)
Subs: Gray (6), King (6)
Man of the match: Riyad Mahrez
As a result, Leicester have now moved a point above their opponents into 13th in the table thanks to their first away win in the league since April.
After bossing the first quarter of the game, Leicester took a deserved lead when Okazaki released Mahrez down the left wing.
Swansea's defence momentarily stopped, thinking the ball had gone out of play, but Mahrez continued, before cutting back into the penalty area and seeing Fernandez inadvertently divert his drilled centre past Lukasz Fabianski.
Appleton's side increased their lead minutes after the break as Jamie Vardy, on the counter, found Mahrez in space in the box, with the Swansea defence desperately pleading for offside.
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The Algeria international was just onside, before laying the ball across the six-yard box for the unmarked Okazaki to tap home past a horribly exposed Fabianski.
Swansea did manage to pull a goal back, albeit out of the blue, as Jordan Ayew flicked a left-wing corner on to Mawson, who did brilliantly to swivel and turn in a tight space, before hooking the ball into the far corner of the goal.
That strike was not enough to rouse Paul Clement's team, however, with Leicester comfortably holding out for the three points that lift them out of the drop zone.
Swansea made one change, with Renato Sanches having recovered from a thigh problem to replace the suspended Leroy Fer in midfield.
Leicester also made one change, with Shinji Okazaki coming in for Kelechi Iheanacho in attack.
- Swansea have lost four of their five home Premier League games this season (W1), after suffering just one defeat in the eight before that (W6 D1)
- Since the start of 2015/16, Swansea have scored 11 own goals, more than twice as many as any other side
- No player has scored more Premier League own goals since the start of 2015/16 than Federico Fernandez (3 - level with Jack Cork)
- Riyad Mahrez has had a hand in two goals in his last two Premier League games (1 goal, 1 assist), as many as in his previous 10 in the competition
- Mahrez has had a hand in five Premier League goals against the Swans (4 goals, 1 assist); against no other side has the winger been involved in more goals in the competition (also 5 v West Brom)
- Jordan Ayew has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other current Swansea player since his debut in the competition in February 2017 (7 - 2 goals, 5 assists)
Matt Le Tissier: Leicester were much the more dangerous side. Swansea had little pockets of play where they threatened briefly, but Lukasz Fabianski had to make far more saves in the first half, a couple of them decent ones.
But he was not able to stop the one from his own defender, which was a bullet of a header from Federico Fernandez, Riyad Mahrez whipped a cross in with plenty of pace and he could only divert it into his own net.
Swansea pressed a little bit towards the end of the first half, but Leicester came out of the blocks again in the second half and Shinji Okazaki put them two in front and at that point, you thought it was going to be pretty comfortable for Leicester.
But Swansea gave them a good game in the end, Alfie Mawson with a terrific finish, kept the game alive for Swansea and they were right in it until the last few minutes.
Paul Clement: "If you look at the nature of their goals, the first one deflects off our own player and goes into the net.
"And the other one, which I have slowed down and looked at very carefully, is marginally offside. I think it is a difficult one for the linesman, but it is offside.
"Last week we took a step forward with our performance defensively and offensively, but this week I think we have taken a step back."
Michael Appleton: "Getting the first goal was massive - that is the second time we have done it this year and obviously that is the two wins we have got," he said.
"It was important that we started the game really well as we have not particularly started a few of the games that well of late, and gone behind in games.
"Delighted at the way they stuck at it as they could quite easily, after they pulled a goal back, gone on to draw or even lose the game."
Man of the Match - Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez has responded brilliantly to being dropped by previous boss Craig Shakespeare against Bournemouth in September.
The Algeria international grabbed his side's crucial late equaliser in Monday night's draw at home with West Bromwich Albion, before turning in an eye-catching display today.
And with the twinkle-toed playmaker creating both of the Foxes' goals, he was the visitors' star man in South Wales.
Swansea host Manchester United in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, before travelling to take on Arsenal in the Premier League next Saturday afternoon.
Leicester, meanwhile, entertain Leeds United in the League Cup on Tuesday evening and then face Everton at the King Power in the league a week on Sunday.