Leicester too strong for injury-hit 10-man Newcastle
Ayoze Pérez and James Maddison go the show on the road for Brendan Rodgers' Leicester while Hamza Choudhury opened his account for the club against Newcastle.
Leicester City striker Ayoze Pérez came back to haunt his former team Newcastle United on Wednesday with a goal and an assist for midfielder James Maddison, as the Foxes eased to a 3-0 victory and cut the gap to runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool. The win meant that Brendan Rodgers' second-placed side have 45 points from 21 matches, 10 points behind Liverpool who have two games in hand and host Sheffield United tomorrow night.
Pérez opens the scoring for Leicester on 36 minutes
Leicester made light of Jamie Vardy's absence due to a calf injury as Pérez pounced on a poor pass across the back line from Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune and rode a tackle from Fabian Schar before slotting past Martin Dubravka in the 36th minute. Lejeune was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons again as his poor clearance found its way to Pérez who fed Maddison, and the England international blasted in a left-footed shot from distance three minutes later.
The double blow came shortly after Newcastle had missed the chance to take the lead through Brazilian forward Joelinton, who sprinted onto a pass over the top of the Leicester defence but failed to beat goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with two attempts. Heroics from Dubravka denied Leicester from scoring on the hour mark, as the goalkeeper first saved a fierce shot from striker Kelechi Iheanacho before keeping out Pérez's follow-up effort from the right.
With Newcastle reduced to 10 men after using up their three substitutions and Schar unable to play due to injury, Leicester made it 3-0 in the 87th minute through Hamza Choudhury who curled in from outside the penalty area for his first senior goal.
"In the week we worked on having to press Newcastle high and credit to our front two for winning the ball back, which led to our first two goals," Maddison was quoted as saying by the BBC. "I haven't scored many with my left foot so it was nice to see that go in. Hamza is a very talented boy, his goal was better than mine, it was lovely to see it fly in."
Brendan Rodgers praised City's high press, finishing and the supporters following a superb victory in Newcastle 👇— Leicester City (@LCFC) January 1, 2020
Brendan Rodger explains Vardy decision
Rodgers said he was not willing to take any chances by playing Vardy with a busy run of games on the horizon. "There's no way on this earth that you can ask players to play at the intensity we want without making a lot of changes. We made changes at West Ham (United) and again today," he said. "Jamie Vardy has a tight calf, he's being treated and I didn't want to take any risks."
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