BEVERLY HILLS, May 01, (THEWILL) – In a match where Leicester City’s current hitman Kelechi Iheanacho uncharacteristically caused problems for the English Premier League side that he had energetically held up while strike partner Jamie Vardy’s drop in form continues, the Nigerian Super Eagles’ forward picked himself up and demonstrated why he is highly respected in the East Midlands side and in the EPL of late.
Although, the Foxes were supposed to be the stronger side and were favourites to win the fixture, moreso after Southampton’s centre back, Jannik Vestergaard, was sent off with a straight red for a professional foul on Vardy, giving Leicester the numerical advantage for the best part of 80 minutes, they somehow failed to capitalise as they slipped to a 1-1 draw against the Saints.
In Vestergaard’s defense, he clearly got the ball before catching the striker’s ankle but his sending off turned the match into an attack-and-defend back and forth. Credit to the hosts, as the Ralph Hasenhuttl-led Southampton held firm even at their disadvantaged short in numbers.
The Saints overcame that harsh red to thwart the Foxes’ stride in the upper levels of the standings. The hosts made amends for their FA Cup semi-final heartache as well as banished the memories of the 9-0 loss at home to the Foxes last season, which must have felt incredibly satisfying for Southampton.
Leicester will rue their missed opportunity which was handed them on a platter with how much time they had to exploit their one-man advantage. The victory that was begging to be taken could have extended the gap between them and fifth-placed West Ham to 10 points and give them breathing space in third. They cannot allow these kinds of chances go unutilised and end making a mockery of all their hard work all season long.
Kelechi Iheanacho, whose handling of the ball in his area resulted in the spotkick that gave the Saints the opener, atoned for his error soon after by whipping in a cross for Leicester centre back, Jonny Evans, to head Leicester back into the game and ensure the points were shared. It was another game where the Nigerian was at the heart of every good Leicester move forward but it just lacked a little extra clinical edge to find a winner.
The Foxes pushed hard for that winner, with Vardy and Nigerian midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, both wasting good chances late in the game, but Southampton held on for a hard-fought point. And a deserving one too.
About the Author
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.