Quick-fire Capoue piles more mis­ery on Leicester

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

WAT­FORD: Eti­enne Capoue struck af­ter just 32 sec­onds as Wat­ford added to Leicester’s do­mes­tic woes by beat­ing the Premier League cham­pi­ons 2-1 at Vicarage Road yes­ter­day.

Roberto Pereyra net­ted Wat­ford’s sec­ond af­ter 12 min­utes and Riyad Mahrez’s penalty couldn’t re­vive Leicester. Clau­dio Ranieri’s side are still look­ing for their first away win of the sea­son and re­main stuck within sight of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Leicester will re­turn to Cham­pi­ons League ac­tion against Club Brugge next week but while they have im­pressed in Europe, they con­tinue to strug­gle for form back at home in the Premier League.

Once again Jamie Vardy failed to find the tar­get, ex­tend­ing his club drought to 13 games al­though the for­ward did fol­low up his mid­week strike for Eng­land by win­ning the penalty that al­lowed Mahrez to bring his side back into the game.

But the de­fen­sive weak­nesses that have marked their dis­ap­point­ing ti­tle de­fence were again all too ap­par­ent as Wat­ford claimed the vic­tory that con­sol­i­dated their place in the top half of the ta­ble.

Walter Maz­zarri had been left in­censed by Wat­ford’s per­for­mance in the 6-1 de­feat at Liver­pool im­me­di­ately be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break and had in­sisted the anger shared by man­ager and play­ers would en­sure there would be no re­peat.

But as anx­ious as the man­ager was to see his play­ers re­cover quickly, their re­sponse was even more im­pres­sive than he might have hoped.

Just 32 sec­onds had elapsed when Wat­ford ex­posed Leicester’s frag­ile de­fence to take the lead, and they had dou­bled that ad­van­tage within 12 min­utes.

Pereyra was in­volved on both oc­ca­sions, with the Ar­gen­tinian’s left wing cross helped on by Troy Deeney’s back­ward header into the path of Capoue, who placed his vol­ley beyond Leicester keeper Ron-Robert Zieler.

The early strike clearly lifted the home side and Pereyra capped a stun­ning open­ing when he cut in­side Danny Drinkwa­ter on the left, mov­ing the ball onto his right foot be­fore curl­ing an an­gled shot past Zieler from the edge of the penalty area.

Leicester needed to conjure a swift reply if they were to re­vive hopes of a first away league win of the sea­son.

They were back in the game in­side two min­utes when Vardy was bun­dled over by Miguel Bri­tos af­ter col­lect­ing a pass from Shinji Okazaki in­side the home penalty area.

Vardy’s lack of goalscor­ing form has been a ma­jor con­cern for Ranieri this sea­son, but the tim­ing of the run sug­gested the striker is near­ing a re­turn to the form of last sea­son.

And when Mahrez con­verted the re­sult­ing penalty with an em­phatic fin­ish into the roof of the net, there was sense of re­lief among Ranieri’s side.

Leicester be­gan to at­tack with more pur­pose but their de­fence - one of the side’s strengths dur­ing last sea­son’s ti­tle tri­umph - strug­gled to get to grips with the threat posed by Wat­ford.

Wat­ford cen­tre-back Younes Kaboul should have done bet­ter than di­rect a header over the bar from a cor­ner mid­way through the first half.

And had Nordin Am­ra­bat been able to col­lect Deeney’s pass when clear in front of Zieler’s goal, Maz­zarri’s side would have reached the in­ter­val with a com­mand­ing lead. Leicester ap­proach at the start of the sec­ond pe­riod was much more con­vinc­ing al­though the vis­i­tors’ at­tack­ing moves too of­ten came to noth­ing be­cause of a lack of qual­ity ser­vice to Vardy.

And they were again al­most caught out in the 65th minute when Zieler pro­duced an out­stand­ing re­ac­tion save to keep out Pereyra’s close-range header af­ter Am­ra­bat and Daryl Jan­maat had com­bined to open up the Leicester left.

Leicester’s ef­forts be­came in­creas­ingly fran­tic as they searched for an equaliser but they re­mained un­able to find the final pass that would have un­done the res­o­lute home de­fence. —AFP

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