Marc Pugh’s goal brings Le­ices­ter down to earth

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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Premier League cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City crashed to earth with a bump as Marc Pugh’s 34th-minute goal earned Bournemouth a 1-0 win at the Vi­tal­ity Sta­dium on Tues­day.

Le­ices­ter over­whelmed Pep Guardi­ola’s Manch­ester City 4-2 on Satur­day in a thrilling re­turn to the form that car­ried them to last sea­son’s fairy­tale ti­tle tri­umph.

But Pugh marked his first start of the sea­son with the game’s only goal to lift Bournemouth up to eighth place and keep Clau­dio Ranieri’s Le­ices­ter four points above the drop zone in 14th. It was not how Ranieri would have wanted to mark his 200th Premier League game as a man­ager.

The Ital­ian has not seen his side win back-to­back league games since April and they have not won away from the King Power Sta­dium since the start of the cam­paign.

From con­tem­plat­ing the prospect of a Cham­pi­ons League last 16 en­counter against Sevilla, with whom they were paired in Mon­day’s draw, Le­ices­ter find them­selves fac­ing up to a rel­e­ga­tion scrap.

Ranieri made only one change to the team that had out­classed City at the week­end, with Luis Her­nan­dez com­ing in for the sus­pended Danny Simp­son at right-back.

But it was Bournemouth, for whom Jack Wilshere re­turned to the start­ing XI, who made the early run­ning, with Charlie Daniels flash­ing a cross across the face of goal.

Le­ices­ter tal­is­man Jamie Vardy re­turned to his bril­liant best with a hat-trick against City and he had a sight of goal af­ter round­ing Ar­tur Boruc, only for a slid­ing Steve Cook to in­ter­vene.

It was a rare sight of goal for the vis­i­tors and af­ter Wilshere had warmed the palms of Le­ices­ter goal­keeper Ron-Robert Zieler with a crisp effort, the home side took the lead.

Adam Smith cut the ball back from the right for Benik Afobe, whose shot was par­ried by Zieler, but Pugh was on hand to smash the re­bound home. Ranieri sent for the cav­alry in the sec­ond half, throw­ing on for­wards Ahmed Musa, Shinji Okazaki and Leonardo Ul­loa, but still a goal eluded his side. Vardy hooked an effort straight at Boruc from Her­nan­dez’s long throw, while Robert Huth headed wide from Riyad Mahrez’s cor­ner and Okazaki saw an effort bril­liantly blocked by the valiant Cook.

There was one last sight of goal for the cham­pi­ons when Ul­loa took aim from point-blank range, but Boruc thwarted him to give Bournemouth a first win over Le­ices­ter since March 1989.— AFP

YOKO­HAMA: Real Madrid’s head coach Zine­dine Zi­dane speaks dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the FIFA Club World Cup soc­cer tour­na­ment in Yoko­hama, near Tokyo, yes­ter­day. Real Madrid and Club Amer­ica will play to­day semi­fi­nal. — AP

Bournemouth Le­ices­ter 1

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