English Premiership

Vardy double takes Leicester nearer title

2016-04-10 17:15
Jamie Vardy scores the winner for Leicester City (Getty Images)

Sunderland - Jamie Vardy's second-half double helped Leicester City go 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League as they enjoyed a hard-fought 2-0 win away to Sunderland on Sunday.

Claudio Ranieri's side are closing in on the English title after a fifth consecutive win put the pressure back on second-placed Tottenham Hotspur ahead of their home game against Manchester United later in the day.

But regardless of what the chasing pack do, Leicester will be crowned champions for the first time in their history if they win three of their remaining five league games.

Leicester struggled to impose themselves on the relegation-threatened Black Cats, who deserved reward for their efforts, but remain third from bottom and four points from safety after a tense encounter at the Stadium of Light.

Vardy broke the deadlock in the 66th minute, sprinting onto a long, lofted through ball from Danny Drinkwater to outpace his marker Younes Kaboul before finding the bottom corner from a narrow angle past keeper Vito Mannone.

The England striker sealed the win in stoppage time, taking a pass from substitute Demarai Gray to run beyond Sunderland's trailing defence before rounding Mannone to roll the ball into an empty net.

Vardy now has 21 Premier League goals this season after hitting the net from open play for the first time in more than two months.

The outcome also prolonged, albeit probably briefly, Aston Villa's ever-present membership of the Premier League as the West Midlands club, currently cut adrift at the bottom of the table, would have had their seemingly inevitable relegation sealed in the event of a Sunderland win.

The benefits of a settled side were highlighted by unchanged Leicester fielding eight players who started the 4-2 opening day of the season win over Sunderland, while the north-east side, who also have a new manager in Sam Allardyce since they last met the Foxes, had just four survivors from their August defeat at the King Power Stadium.

Just 11 months ago, Leicester celebrated clinching Premier League survival with a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light in the penultimate game of the campaign, but they held far more lofty ambitions on their return.

They struggled to impress in an even first half, which was well into stoppage time before either goalkeeper was troubled for the first time, Kasper Schmeichel saving well with his legs when a Fabio Borini shot was deflected goalwards by Leicester skipper Wes Morgan.

Both teams had penalty appeals turned down in the first half.

Leicester were the first to see their claims go unrewarded when Shinji Okazaki went down rather too theatrically under a challenge from DeAndre Yedlin as the pair tussled for Marc Albrighton's lofted ball into the area.

Robert Huth used his hand to prevent a low centre from Sunderland defender Patrick van Aanholt reaching Jermain Defoe, but again referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved.

Borini also fired narrowly over the angle of post and bar from a deflected Defoe cross as Sunderland started strongly in the second half while, at the other end, Okazaki shot just over from 15 yards after a neat passing interchange with N'Golo Kante.

A stalemate appeared to beckon, but Sunderland momentarily switched off with devastating consequences to their hopes of pulling off a fourth consecutive escape from relegation.

Drinkwater beat Lee Cattermole midway inside the Leicester half to release Vardy, and he kept his cool to find the bottom corner after leaving Kaboul trailing.

Sunderland substitute Jack Rodwell wasted a glorious late opening, the England international firing fractionally too high when a deflected van Aanholt shot fell invitingly for the midfielder.

As they went in search of an equaliser, Sunderland left gaps at the back and eventually paid the price when Vardy broke clear, with the final result making it more than eight hours since Leicester last conceded a goal.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

23 October 2016
Manchester City v Southampton, Etihad Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Manchester United, Stamford Bridge 17:00
29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Will Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to the English Premiership title in 2016/17?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.