Premier League
LeicesterLeicester City2SouthamptonSouthampton0

Leicester City 2-0 Southampton

By Jamie StricklandBBC Sport
Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez has now scored four goals in the Premier League this season

Riyad Mahrez hit an early brace as Leicester City took another step towards Premier League safety with victory over lacklustre Southampton.

The Algerian forward found the net with a low drive on seven minutes and soon doubled his tally when turning home Jamie Vardy's pull-back.

The Foxes have won six of their last seven games and are now three points clear of danger with two to play.

Southampton are without a win in four matches but stay in seventh.

Foxes still have work to do - Pearson

Fresh from being named manager of the month, it was a bullish Nigel Pearson that led his players into battle against a team with just one point to show from their last five away games.

Five wins from six is title-winning form and unsurprisingly the Foxes started like a train.

Mahrez picked up the ball in midfield and was allowed to set off on a dangerous run to the edge of the box where he took aim and fired low beyond Paulo Gazzaniga, who was making his first start of the season.

Leicester's joy was punctured minutes later when midfielder Matty James appeared to get his foot caught in the turf as he tracked Ryan Bertrand.

A lengthy delay followed as he was treated for an apparent knee injury before being taken off on a stretcher.

But the hosts soon had another reason to cheer as they doubled their lead on 19 minutes.

Leicester supporters hold up a banner praising manger Nigel Pearson
Nigel Pearson has taken his side from the foot of the standings to the brink of survival in one month

Leonardo Ulloa's flick-on found the the always busy Vardy, who pulled the ball back for Mahrez to poke in number two.

Ronald Koeman has expressed his unhappiness at the way his Southampton players have failed to perform at the tail end of the season, having once been considered contenders for a Champions League berth.

Saints lacked aggression - Koeman

Just four wins in 13 games coming into this match was a clear indication of waning confidence, and the manager will not have been impressed with their response to going two goals behind.

Vardy might have made it three before the break as Southampton failed to seriously threaten in the first 45 minutes.

The half-time break did little to galvanise the visitors, who laboured to break down a Leicester defence boasting clean sheets in three of their last four games and expertly marshalled by the commanding Robert Huth.

Sadio Mane's shot from distance with 20 minutes left finally forced Kasper Schmeichel into meaningful action, the Leicester goalkeeper showing good agility to tip the ball away.

Esteban Cambiasso, whose vast experience has been so crucial to Leicester's late-season revival, had home fans on their feet moments later with a low drive that just flashed wide, ruffling the side-netting as it went.

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson: "It transpires that we needed the run we have had to give ourselves a chance. When you get to Christmas with the position we were in we were hoping we'd get to the final day with it still being in our hands. We have had a fantastic run but have work to do.

"The fans stuck with us, they've seen enough to suggest we've got performances in us. This run's been phenomenal really."

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: "If you start the game and you know the opponent is fighting against relegation you can expect they are aggressive and we weren't in the beginning. It's difficult to explain. "Everybody is hungry for European football because it's a great achievement and still we are in that situation, we have to react and change our mentality."

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Ronald Koeman
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has been left frustrated by his side's recent struggles
Saido Mane
Saido Mane had the best of Southampton's few chances
Matty James
Matty James lasted just nine minutes before a nasty injury forced him off
Leicester fan
Headphones kept home fans in touch with scores elsewhere

Line-ups

Leicester

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 27WasilewskiBooked at 81mins
  • 14Huth
  • 5Morgan
  • 11Albrighton
  • 8JamesSubstituted forDrinkwaterat 13'minutes
  • 19Cambiasso
  • 15Schlupp
  • 26Mahrez
  • 23UlloaSubstituted forHammondat 78'minutes
  • 9VardySubstituted forNugentat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2de Laet
  • 3Konchesky
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 7Hammond
  • 32Schwarzer
  • 35Nugent
  • 40Kramaric

Southampton

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 25Gazzaniga
  • 2Clyne
  • 6José Fonte
  • 17Alderweireld
  • 21Bertrand
  • 28Reed
  • 12Wanyama
  • 8DavisSubstituted forDjuricicat 66'minutes
  • 10Mané
  • 22EliaSubstituted forLongat 66'minutes
  • 19Pellè

Substitutes

  • 1Davis
  • 3Yoshida
  • 5Gardos
  • 7Long
  • 15Djuricic
  • 33Targett
  • 40Gallagher
Referee:
Roger East
Attendance:
31,939

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home31%
Away69%
Shots
Home10
Away10
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away8
Fouls
Home12
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Leicester City 2, Southampton 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Leicester City 2, Southampton 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sadio Mané (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Filip Djuricic.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Robert Huth.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Robert Huth.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Toby Alderweireld (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Filip Djuricic.

  7. Post update

    Harrison Reed (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Marc Albrighton (Leicester City).

  9. Post update

    Foul by Sadio Mané (Southampton).

  10. Post update

    Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marcin Wasilewski (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross following a corner.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.

  13. Post update

    Hand ball by Sadio Mané (Southampton).

  14. Booking

    Marcin Wasilewski (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Sadio Mané (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Marcin Wasilewski (Leicester City).

  17. Post update

    Harrison Reed (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City).

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Dean Hammond replaces Leonardo Ulloa because of an injury.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Victor Wanyama (Southampton).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea35258269274283
2Man City35217771363570
3Arsenal34217666333370
4Man Utd36208861362568
5Liverpool351871049381161
6Tottenham36177125553258
7Southampton361761348301857
8Swansea35158124344-153
9Stoke36148144244-250
10West Ham361211134343047
11Everton361111144648-244
12Crystal Palace36119164350-742
13West Brom361011153447-1341
14Aston Villa36108183050-2038
15Leicester36107194154-1337
16Sunderland35715133050-2036
17Newcastle3699183761-2436
18Hull36810183349-1634
19Burnley36611192753-2629
20QPR3576223961-2227
View full Premier League table

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