Article

Leicester City 0 Southampton 0: Saints´ survival bid suffers fresh blow

19 abril 2018 22:36

Southampton's hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a blow after as they were held to a dour 0-0 draw by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

A point moves Southampton within four points of 17th-placed Swansea City, but the Welsh side have a game in hand over Mark Hughes' beleaguered outfit.

The Saints will have the opportunity to forget their Premier League struggles this weekend when they face Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final, but go into it knowing they have missed a golden opportunity to strengthen their survival chances.

Perhaps not surprisingly for a team that had lost two in a row, Leicester never looked at ease and rarely threatened their visitors from the south coast.

Southampton, on the other hand, had a number of clear openings with Shane Long in particular guilty of showing a lack of composure in front of goal.

After their Wembley clash at the weekend, Southampton face Bournemouth, Everton, Swansea and Manchester City in their final four games – a daunting prospect for a team that has now failed to win in eight league outings.

Leicester started with a spring in their step and tested Alex McCarthy early on when Riyad Mahrez whipped a low shot towards goal after an incisive move involving Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy.

Iheanacho then showed superb improvisation to spin Oriol Romeu after his initial shot had been blocked, but his curled strike flashed past McCarthy's right-hand post.

Dusan Tadic drilled a half-volley wide as Southampton belatedly posed an attacking threat of their own, while Ryan Bertrand's drive after cutting in from the right was comfortably held by Ben Hamer.

The unlikely figure of Cedric Soares wasted a fine opportunity to at least test Hamer shortly before the interval, scuffing his back-post volley from Long's deep cross past the post.

Long then made a real mess of a two-on-one break on the stroke of half-time, the Irishman getting caught in two minds and only succeeding in stabbing harmlessly into the arms of Hamer.

Long's woe continued after the restart as he latched onto Tadic's deflected effort and saw his powerful drive well smothered by the Leicester goalkeeper.  

Vardy was denied a spectacular opener 20 minutes from time when McCarthy tipped over his acrobatic volley from Marc Albrighton's arrowed ball over the top.

And if anyone was going to find a winner in the closing stages it was the hosts, with Southampton seemingly content to hold on for a point that hardly injects life into their survival bid.

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