Leicester survive Newcastle ‘war’ to go third

Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Brendan Rodgers said Leicester had survived a “war” as they climbed to third place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win against Newcastle on Sunday.

Rodgers’ side struck through James Maddison and Youri Tielemans in the second half at St James’ Park.

Andy Carroll reduced the deficit with his first goal for Newcastle in over 10 years.

Leicester were good value for their first win in three league games as they extended their unbeaten run to four matches.

The Foxes are one point behind leaders Liverpool, who face Southampton on Monday, and Rodgers was pleased with the way they held firm after Carroll set up a tense finale.

“I’m delighted with that. It was always going to be a tight game. We had some really good moments in the first half but just failed with that final ball,” Rodgers said.

“In the second half we stayed strong defensively. Once we got the first goal it opened it up a little bit. It became a war in the last 10 minutes. 

“The squad has been tremendous in terms of how they have coped with European and our league efforts. There is still a long way to go but it’s a great start for us.”

After missing out on a top four finish on the final day of last season, Leicester look well equipped to challenge for Champions League qualification and could even pose a threat to Liverpool’s title defence.

Having taken maximum points from a visit to Newcastle for the fifth successive season, Leicester have now won seven of their nine away league games this term.

Newcastle are without a win in six games in all competitions as the pressure mounts on Magpies boss Steve Bruce.

– Clinical Leicester –

Leicester thought they had taken an early lead when Jamie Vardy accelerated onto Maddison’s precise pass, rounded Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow and slotted into the empty net.

Vardy’s joy was short-lived however as an offside flag curtailed his celebrations.

Newcastle once again followed boss Bruce’s defensive game-plan, allowing Leicester to dominate possession.

Unable to apply the knockout blow in the first half, Leicester finally took the lead in the 55th minute.

Harvey Barnes led the break and his pass picked out Vardy, who cut inside before teeing up Maddison’s fierce strike past Darlow.

It was Vardy’s 34th Premier League assist for Leicester, equalling the club record set by Steve Guppy.

Lacking any threat in attack, there was an air of desperation about Newcastle’s rejected penalty appeal following Timothy Castagne’s clean challenge on Callum Wilson.

Tielemans netted in the 72nd minute when the Belgium midfielder met Marc Albrighton’s cross with a fine finish.

Carroll, who started his career with Newcastle before spending eight years away after leaving in 2011, came off the bench to score in the 82nd minute.

His thumping shot after Leicester failed to clear a free-kick was his first goal for his hometown club since December 2010.

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