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Southampton 2 Leicester City 2: In-form Vardy sparks Foxes fight back

Jamie Vardy continued his remarkable run of form as his double sparked a second-half fightback from Leicester City in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Southampton.

Southampton appeared on course for three points as they led 2-0 midway through the second half but Vardy pulled one back in the 67th minute before netting a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time.

The hosts looked in control at St Mary’s Stadium as captain Jose Fonte – who signed a new contract until 2018 on Friday – nodded home the opener and Fonte’s centre-back partner Virgil van Dijk then scored for the second home match in a row to make it 2-0 before half time.

But Leicester have earned themselves a reputation as comeback kings this season and the Premier League’s top scorer Vardy sparked another memorable rescue effort.

The England international – who has now scored in six straight league games – started the fightback by heading home his first.

And Vardy delighted the travelling supporters by smashing home the equaliser in second-half injury time for his ninth league goal of the season.

Southampton survived some early Leicester pressure and almost took the lead when Van Dijk towered high to meet James Ward-Prowse’s corner but he saw his effort cleared off the line by Danny Drinkwater.

The visitors failed to heed the warning and another Southampton corner led to the opening goal in the 21st minute as Fonte stole a march on N’Golo Kante to glance home Dusan Tadic’s pin-point delivery.

A lengthy break followed when Cedric Soares received treatment to a nasty cut above his eye, but the full-back returned to tee up Sadio Mane whose shot on the turn was well saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

But soon after Southampton were 2-0 up. Graziano Pelle saw his glancing header from Ward-Prowse’s cross hit the post and the ball rebounded off Van Dijk against the same upright before the centre-back finally poked home.

Leicester finished the half strongly and Drinkwater’s stinging effort brought the best out of veteran goalkeeper Kelvin Davis – in for the injured Maarten Stekelenburg – before Robert Huth drilled wide after showing great feet in the area.

Claudio Ranieri introduced Nathan Dyer and Riyad Mahrez from the bench at half-time and the pacy wingers gave Leicester plenty of fresh attacking impetus.

Indeed, Mahrez went close with a curling shot on the hour that beat Davis but went wide of the left-hand post.

Southampton had tentative penalty claims for handball against Huth waved away, before Leicester deservedly halved the deficit.

Dyer did brilliantly to get his cross in on from the right and Jordy Clasie – on for his Southampton Premier League debut after recovering from an ankle injury – was unable to match the run of Vardy, who planted a firm header past Davis.

Leicester were in the ascendancy and the in-form Vardy had the chance to level the scores when he met Mahrez’s low cross from the left, but his effort went narrowly over the crossbar.

However, Leicester earned a deserved point in added time when Vardy escaped the offside trap to collect Mahrez’s throughball before thumping his shot high into the roof of the net.

Sat 17 Oct, 2015
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