Leicester hit back to beat Aston Villa and ease Premier League relegation woes | OneFootball

Icon: The Independent

The Independent

·4 February 2023

Leicester hit back to beat Aston Villa and ease Premier League relegation woes

Article image:Leicester hit back to beat Aston Villa and ease Premier League relegation woes

Leicester eased their Premier League relegation concerns as they twice came from behind to secure a pulsating victory in a six-goal thriller at Aston Villa.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were only outside of the bottom three on goal difference before kick-off in a Midlands derby that ended 4-2 in favour of the Foxes.

An Ollie Watkins strike and an own goal from Harry Souttar, on his Leicester debut, twice had Unai Emery’s Villa ahead – but they were pegged back by James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Tete, also making his Leicester bow, put the visitors in front at the break before substitute Dennis Praet wrapped up the win – all four goals coming from poor Villa defending.

Emery’s men started the brighter of the two sides and duly took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock.

Emiliano Buendia had time and space to curl in a shot from outside the box and, after it smacked against the crossbar, Watkins reacted quickest to flick the ball home.

Leicester reacted well to the early set-back and were level soon after – although it was a goal of Villa’s own making, setting the theme for the afternoon.

Emiliano Martinez rolled a goal-kick into Boubacar Kamara, who had the ball stolen off him by Iheanacho, his pass then coolly converted by Maddison on his first league start since the World Cup.

In an end-to-end first-half, Watkins missed a fine chance to put the hosts back in front, failing to tap a Buendia cross into an open goal.

The busy Buendia hit the woodwork for a second time as he flicked a header against the crossbar from a near-post corner.

Villa’s second would come about in unfortunate circumstances for Foxes new-boy Souttar, who inadvertently deflected a low Watkins cross into his own goal.

Souttar’s blushes would be spared as the fourth goal of a thrilling contest came before the interval as Harvey Barnes crossed to the back post for Iheanacho to bring Leicester level.

Even better for the visitors, they would hit the front for the first time in the game just moments before the break, Kamara again losing possession as Iheanacho fed Tete – who marked his Leicester debut with a well-taken goal.

Emery responded by making a double change for the second half as Alex Moreno and Philippe Coutinho were introduced.

But it was Leicester who should have struck, moments after the restart. This time Iheanacho unable to hit the target having been played through one-on-one with Martinez.

Tete, too, came close to a brace as Leicester started the second half in the same manner they ended the first.

Villa began to come back into the game and thought they had drawn level through Coutinho, although the offside flag ruled out the Brazilian’s close-range finish.

Leicester gave themselves some breathing space as Moreno failed to clear a ball through the middle, allowing Praet a simple finish past Martinez.

For Rodgers, who got the better of Emery in both games between the pair when the Spaniard was at Arsenal, it was a vital three points as Leicester moved up to 13th place in the table.

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