Leicester lay down a marker by seeing off Spurs
Jamie Vardy’s penalty and a Toby Alderweireld own goal was enough for the visitors
Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy’s header leads to Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld scoring an own goal during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Photo: Frank Augstein/PA Wire
Tottenham Hotspur 0 Leicester City 2
José Mourinho is acutely aware that Serge Aurier can be guilty of a rush of blood. Remember what the Tottenham manager told him in the club’s Amazon documentary? “I am afraid of you as a marker,” Mourinho said in front of the rest of the squad. “Because you are capable of doing a shit penalty with VAR.” The full-back’s death stare was a picture.
Aurier has been excellent for much of this season but his old failing returned to destructive effect here, tilting a tense game in favour of Leicester. He could see Wesley Fofana go for the ball on the very corner of the penalty area, but there was little on for the Leicester centre-half as he headed away from goal. Which made Aurier’s barge into his back all the more reckless. Enter VAR and the only decision concerned whether the contact had been inside the area. It had.
Jamie Vardy lashed the 45th minute penalty up the middle and, at last, the game had a talking point and something to blow it open. Before then it had been extremely tight and it always felt as though one moment, either good or bad, would prove decisive.
Leicester had been marginally the better team before the penalty and they played with greater freedom in the second-half en route to their sixth away win in seven Premier League games this season and one of their biggest statements.
Vardy was involved in the second goal, his header going in off the unfortunate Toby Alderweireld, and Spurs were left to consider a third game without victory and what happens when they cannot counter-attack their opponents. Brendan Rodgers knew that he could not allow that to happen and, apart from a couple of scares in the first-half, the Leicester manager got the balance spot on.
Even at home Spurs did not want to come out, and it was a slog for them to create. Harry Kane played in Son Heung-min on 15 minutes only for the South Korean to sidefoot past the far post – it was neither a shot nor cross – while Kane headed over from a Son corner just before the penalty. He had managed to hang above Youri Tielemans but just could not get his body shape right.
Leicester looked the more cohesive team before the interval, playing more on the front foot but without being able to create anything clear-cut. Vardy had a shot blocked; James Maddison worked Lloris with a deflected effort. And so the present of the penalty was even more gratefully received.
Mourinho had started Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele in a league fixture for the first time this season, although the former was rather shoehorned in on the right flank, with Steven Bergwijn named among the substitutes. It did not work. The manager hooked Ndombele at half-time, while he lost Lo Celso to injury on 49 minutes. As an aside, Mourinho did not include Dele Alli in his squad despite the presence of nine players on the bench.
By the time of Lo Celso’s withdrawal, Leicester thought they had scored again, and it was certainly a lovely finish by Maddison, who took a high ball from James Justin in his stride before fizzing a low shot into the far corner. In real time, it looked as though Spurs might have a case for offside against him, as Aurier had been slow to get out. What VAR showed, when the lines came out, was that Maddison’s arm was fractionally ahead of Alderweireld. It was one of those man-versus-machine moments that provokes despair.
Leicester did not feel sorry for themselves, and they closed the game out shortly afterwards. Harvey Barnes caught the eye with his driving runs up the left but it was Marc Albrighton on the other flank who created the second, drifting in a cross that asked Vardy to leap over Moussa Sissoko, which he did. Vardy directed the ball back across goal and Alderweireld, who was in close attendance, could only watch in horror as he deflected it into the near corner.
Spurs looked beaten. Son did extend Kasper Schmeichel after Alderweireld flicked on a 71st minute corner, but there would be no way back. – Guardian