Leicester City were undone by two injury-time goals and fell to Tottenham Hotspur by a score of 3-2 in Wednesday evening action. Strikes by Patson Daka and James Maddison gave the Foxes a 2-1 lead going into time added on, but a late Steven Bergwijn brace doomed City to a painful defeat.
Mad that Leicester managed to lose from here. pic.twitter.com/BX3vmCcQLe— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) January 19, 2022
12 seconds can last a lifetime when Jon Moss is in charge.
With a cornucopia of absences due to injuries, illnesses, and international duty, manager Brendan Rodgers had to be creative again with the starting XI: Kasper Schmeichel (C), Marc Albrighton, Hamza Choudhury, Çağlar Söyüncü, Jannik Vestergaard, Luke Thomas, Youri Tielemans, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison, Ademola Lookman, Patson Daka.
With only a few brief moments of respite, the opening quarter of the match saw Spurs pinning the Foxes back in their own area. Harry Kane crashed a header against the bar, Davinson Sanchez put a header wide from three yards out, Thomas made a brilliant clearance off the line, and Schmeichel was uncomfortably busy during the early exchanges.
So, in typical Leicester fashion, the Foxes took the lead with their first shot on goal. A quick counterattack saw the ball exchanged between Daka and Lookman in close quarters in the Spurs area. The exchanges may have had more to do with fortune than intent, but regardless of how the ball arrived at Daka’s feet, it most certainly did, and the Zambia man lifted it over Hugo Lloris and into the back of the net.
There are days I genuinely can’t tell you who our best striker is. I mean this in the best possible way.
The north London side should have levelled on 35’. Oliver Skipp played a ball into the path of Lucas Moura that Schmeichel raced out to claim. The Danish stopped got there first, but spilled the ball into the path of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. The midfielder’s low drive was on-target, but Albrighton made a lung-bursting run to make a diving clearance off the line.
No heroics would save City as Spurs got their equaliser just three minutes later. Vestergaard gave the ball away in an advanced position. Söyüncü tried to play Kane offside but was a fraction of a second late. The Turkey defender did well to chase the striker down, but Kane cut inside him and slotted the ball off the far post and into the net.
The second half started with the same XI for both sides and thus the same run of play. Spurs were winning every loose ball and forcing turnovers in dangerous areas, but Tottenham failed to make their dominance count, allowing the Foxes to hold on.
Rodgers wasted no time making his first change, pulling the trigger on 55’. Luke Thomas was replaced by...wait for it...James Justin, making his first appearance at the King Power since last February. It was a welcome sight even if Thomas (along with Dewsbury-Hall) had been Leicester’s best player up to that point.
It was still largely one-way traffic so the gaffer made a second change, withdrawing Daka in favour of Harvey Barnes. This move took all of one minute to pay dividends. Madders broke down the right and played the ball into Barnes who did well to collect it and return it to the onrushing Maddison. The former Norwich City man did well to keep his balance and get his shot off. It took a deflection and looped over Lloris for the go-ahead goal.
Treasure the moment, lad. Jon Moss is coming.
The Foxes held the lead until the 95th (and presumably final, but oh, you wait and see) minute and then Jon Moss took over. Spurs broke at pace towards the Leicester goal. Steve Bergwijn lost the ball in the box and went down to try to win a penalty. Cags stood over him and motioned for him to get up, Bergwijn stood up, squared up to Söyüncü, and knocked him over. You might think this would be a red card (and maybe a yellow for the dive as well). No wonder. I’ve literally never seen a player do this in front of the referee and stay on the pitch. This, however, was a match in which Jon Moss was in charge and you will always see some new and novel approach to refereeing when he has the whistle.
Just moments later, another Spurs attack saw the ball crossed in towards Matt Doherty deep in the penalty box. Schmeichel saved it. The ball bounced off of both of Doherty’s arms, and into the path of...Bergwijn, who slotted home from close range. Schmeichel went to retrieve the ball and Bergwijn shoved the Leicester captain’s face into the net in an incident similar to the one that saw Söyüncü sent off against Bournemouth.
Play restarted in the 97th of a match with five minutes of injury time. Leicester gave the ball away and Kane sent Bergwijn on his way. He rounded Schmeichel and scored. Game over.
Please do not get me wrong: We were not in any way, shape, or form the better side here. I was preparing to write about a smash-and-grab before the injury time shenanigans. We were poor, and Spurs did everything but score for the majority of the match. But, the Bergwijn/Söyüncü incident wasn’t a matter of “You’ve seen them give red for that.” It was “I’ve literally never seen them NOT show a red for that.” He shouldn’t have been on the pitch. He did enough in 10 minutes to get a straight red and two yellows (the dive and shoving Schmeichel).
The defeat leaves Leicester on 25 points through 19 matches. That’s good enough for 10th on the table, but it’s not nearly good enough. Presuming naively that there will be no further postponements, we square off against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex on Sunday. After that, we get two weeks off before travelling to Nottingham to face Forest in the fourth round of the FA Cup.