A second-half brace from Riyad Mahrez inspired Leicester City to come from behind and seal a 3-2 Premier League win at Midlands rivals West Brom on Saturday.
Salomon Rondon gave the hosts the lead with a powerful header after half an hour amid an otherwise bright start from Claudio Ranieri’s men, who came close early on when Jamie Vardy saw an effort tipped onto the post.
Leicester continued to threaten and drew level just after half-time when Mahrez got ahead of his man to volley home Marc Albrighton’s superb cross, before the two players combined again just after the hour to edge the visitors in front at The Hawthorns.
And a thoroughly satisfying afternoon for third-placed Leicester was wrapped up 13 minutes from time as Vardy broke away from the defence to slot home his 11th league goal of the season, although West Brom did respond through a late penalty from Rickie Lambert, who was also denied by the woodwork in the dying seconds.
Vardy’s goal edges him closer to Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League fixtures and will see the 28-year old earn plenty more plaudits.
Premier League top scorer Vardy nearly gave the visitors an ideal start inside 10 minutes, getting behind Gareth McAuley before seeing a stinging drive tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
Albrighton drilled just wide from 25 yards 10 minutes later as West Brom, unchanged from the 1-0 win at Norwich City last weekend, continued to find themselves on the back foot.
But West Brom weathered the early storm and made Leicester pay for their profligacy after 30 minutes.
A well-worked corner saw Rondon burst ahead of Danny Simpson at the near post to head home Stephane Sessegnon’s whipped cross from the left.
Leicester persevered, with Myhill producing a smart save to keep out Leonardo Ulloa’s glancing header just before half-time, but an otherwise impressive defensive performance meant West Brom ended the opening 45 minutes in the ascendency.
Only a last-ditch Simpson tackle prevented Saido Berahino from doubling West Brom’s lead five minutes after the break, but Leicester responded and restored parity just before the hour.
A wonderful deep cross from Albrighton found Mahrez at the far post and he steered an expert volley home from close range.
Vardy diverted a cheeky backheel just wide, but Leicester were not to be denied a second as Albrighton again teed up Mahrez with a deflected cross.
The visitors extended their lead after 77 minutes when the in-form Vardy was on hand to finish a stunning counter-attacking breakaway by slotting home, drawing him level with Daniel Sturridge as the only Englishmen to net in eight Premier League games in a row.
But West Brom hit back seven minutes later when substitute Nathan Dyer was adjudged to have fouled Callum McManaman inside the area, allowing substitute Lambert to open his account for the club from the spot.
Tony Pulis’ men pushed for an equaliser, with McManaman firing wide and Lambert hitting the post late on, but Leicester survived a frantic finish to claim the win.
Key Opta stats:
– Salomon Rondon has now scored in successive appearances for West Brom; it was his first at The Hawthorns.
– Three of the last five Premier League goals scored by West Brom have been headed.
– In his last 10 Premier League appearances, Riyad Mahrez has been directly involved in 12 goals (seven scored and five assists).
– Rickie Lambert has scored all seven penalties he has taken in the Premier League.
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