Leicester - Craig Shakespeare became the first Englishman to
win his first four matches as a Premier League manager after reigning champions
Leicester City moved closer to top-flight survival with a 2-0 victory at home
to Stoke City on Saturday.
Victory saw Shakespeare join some of football's most
high-profile coaches - Portugal's Jose Mourinho, Italy's Carlo Ancelotti, the
Netherlands' Guus Hiddink and Spain's Pep Guardiola - in an exclusive club.
Wilfred Ndidi's long-range rocket and Jamie Vardy's latest
goal saw the Foxes triumph at their King Power Stadium, with victory taking
Leicester to 33 points, just three behind Stoke, who kicked off in ninth place.
January signing Ndidi scored his first Premier League goal
in style while England striker Vardy grabbed his fourth goal in as many games.
For all the controversy over Leicester's decision to sack
title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri, there is no denying their resurgence
This result means that with two more games to play before
their Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid, the Midlands club
could be all but safe from relegation before the next chapter of their European
The first chance fell to Leicester in the seventh minute
after midfielder Danny Drinkwater lofted a dangerous free-kick into the Stoke
It was flicked on by Robert Huth and took two deflections to
the feet of Yohan Benalouane, who was deputising again at centre-back for
injured captain Wes Morgan.
But he fired a cross-shot across the face of goal and wide
of the far post.
Leicester almost led in the ninth minute after Stoke captain
Ryan Shawcross was booked for a crude challenge on Demarai Gray.
The resultant free-kick was delivered by Christian Fuchs
onto the head of Huth, whose goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by Erik
Gray recovered from his heavy blow and might have put the
hosts in front in the 24th minute when his long-range shot flashed just wide.
But it was an unlikely goalscorer who put Leicester ahead in
the 25th minute.
Nigeria's Ndidi collected a square pass from Danny Simpson and
unleashed a fabulous right-footed shot that bent into the top corner of Lee
Grant's net from 25 yards.
Gray was tormenting Stoke with his quick footwork and a
fabulous trick in the 34th minute took him away from Glen Johnson and forced
Shawcross into a desperate block.
The resulting corner found its way to Shinji Okazaki, whose
overhead kick from 15 yards looped just over.
January signing Saido Berahino had been quiet for Stoke but
he had a sight of goal 10 minutes from half-time when he collected a neat pass
by Ramadan Sobhi and sent a tame shot at Leicester goalkeeper Kasper
But the hosts posed the greater threat and Grant had to make
a smart save to keep out a 20-yard drive from Riyad Mahrez.
The second Leicester goal arrived just 76 seconds into the
second half as Stoke were punished for failing to start quickly after the
Simpson was given room on the right to cross, Johnson was
caught napping at the far post and Vardy crept in to volley home.
Mahrez should have put the victory beyond doubt for
Leicester in the 64th minute when he raced forward to meet a cross by Vardy
after an electric break by the striker.
But the Algerian's effort was too close to Grant, who saved
A rare Stoke break then ended with Marko Arnautovic crossing
for substitute Peter Crouch, but the former England man side-footed wide.
Arnautovic had the ball in the next 20 minutes from time but
he was denied by an offside flag.
Vardy could then feel aggrieved not to be given the chance
for a second goal when he won a towering header and found Mahrez before
bursting into space for a return pass, only for Mahrez to try a shot that flew