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Enzo Maresca hails Hamza Choudhury defensive heroics after vital win over WBA

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Apr 2024

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Leicester manager Enzo Maresca hailed Hamza Choudhury’s defensive heroics after his side beat West Brom 2-1 at the King Power Stadium to edge closer to promotion.

Maresca’s side moved back to the top of the Championship with goals from Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy, who missed a penalty in the first half.

Albion dominated the game but midfielder Hamza Choudhury was the Foxes’ hero clearing off the line three times.

The visitors could only find the net once when captain Jed Wallace reduced the two-goal deficit for Carlos Corberan’s side with 14 minutes left.

Leicester were helped hugely by Choudhury’s inspired last-ditch defending and Maresca hailed his man-of-the-match performance.

Maresca said: “I’ve never seen three goal-line clearances from one player. He played as a goalkeeper at times.

“Hamza is probably the only guy whose contract we renewed this season. We made him one of the captains. With us, on the pitch and off the pitch, he has always been very good.

Maresca celebrated with his players at the final whistle, but says he knows the job is far from done.

The Italian coach said: “It was a crazy game. We need still two wins, now we have to look at the next game.

“Every time you win, you see yourself closer and you celebrate. But it’s not over, we have to finish the job. It was only 12 months ago that we were relegated, it’s not easy to come back.

“I just said to Carlos Corberan that we have been lucky in this game. And he said to me: ‘You have been lucky here, but in the last two games, you have been completely unlucky.’”

Albion’s play-off hopes remain in the balance after two successive defeats but Corberan says he is ready for the challenge with two games left.

The Spanish coach said: “It’s excellent! I love this pressure. I am preparing for this – I am ready to fight until the last minute of the last game. We’re in a good position to fight for that, I’m proud of what we’re doing.

“The play off is a step to promotion. There are amazing teams here, who have made a big financial investment, but we have two games to achieve the play offs. I don’t care whether we’re fifth or sixth. I want the most points we can achieve. That’s all I’m thinking about.”

Corberan admitted losing to Leicester, after having so much of the game, was hard to take, adding: “This was not a fair result, we did everything but put the ball in the net until late on.

“We created more chances than the best team in the division, and I’m proud of that. But I’ve never seen one player make three goal-line clearances before, that was hard to accept.”

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