Southhampton - Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy hit two second half goals to help
Leicester City steal a 2-2 draw with another dramatic fightback at
Southampton on Saturday.
Defensive lynchpins Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk put Southampton ahead
at halftime. But they could not resist the brilliant Vardy-led
fightback which kept Leicester in fifth place.
England international Vardy now leads the Premier League charts with nine goals – eight coming in the last six games.
He could easily have had a hat-trick against a Saints side looking for a third straight league win.
After the goals from Southampton skipper Fonte and £13 million (17.5
million euro) signing Van Dijk, the home side seemed to be cruising.
Dutchman Van Dijk had another header cleared off the line by Danny Drinkwater.
But Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, who revealed this week he had been
approached by Southampton before they appointed Ronald Koeman last year,
sent on Nathan Dyer and Riyad Mahrez for the second half and the Foxes
were a different team.
In the 66th minute, Dyer crossed for Vardy, under little pressure, to
head almost casually beyond slow-to-react goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.
Leicester grew in confidence as Southampton lost theirs.
Vardy, looking to seal a place in England manager Roy Hodgson's squad
for Euro 2016, wasted a golden opportunity when he sent Mahrez's
left-wing cross over from close range.
But in the first of five minutes of stoppage time, Leicester threw everything forward.
Mahrez sent a through-ball towards Vardy, who shot into the top-right
corner to complete Leicester's latest great escape under Ranieri.
The 28-year-old Vardy's lethal finishing should help raise his value and profile even higher.
Only three years ago he was playing in League Two with Fleetwood Town.
Ranieri has acknowledged that Leicester might be forced to sell Vardy if
the right offer came. But he said before the game that it would take "a
lot, a lot, a lot."
"We want to keep him and we want to keep hold of all our best players
but if there are some teams who want to spend money 'Ok', we'll re-start
and we'll see another good player," the manager declared.