Norwich 1-0 Leicester: Canaries bag vital three points in relegation scrap thanks to Jamal Lewis stunner, as Foxes rue Jamie Vardy absence to cap winless February
- Leicester travelled to face Norwich in a top three vs bottom three clash on Friday
- The first-half ended goalless with the Foxes missing a host of strong chances
- Kelechi Iheanacho had a goal ruled-out early in the second half for handball
- Norwich battled and took a shock lead, Jamal Lewis firing in after 70 minutes
- The Canaries held on for a shock win leaving Leicester without a win in February
Leicester’s march towards Champions League football hit another bump as Jamal Lewis scored the first league goal of his career to give Norwich an unlikely shot at survival.
After Kelechi Iheanacho’s strike for the visitors early in the second half had been ruled out for handball by VAR, Lewis’ volley in the 70th minute meant Brendan Rodgers’ team have won only one of their last seven in the league, and also gone three games without a goal.
Norwich are now only four points adrift of safety after scoring from open play in the league for the first time since New Year’s Day. Leicester, meanwhile, have lost their punch at just the wrong time and their grip on a top-four finish is loosening by the week.
Jamal Lewis earned Norwich City a shock victory against Leicester at Carrow Road on Friday
Lewis fired in from the left side of the penalty area, sending the Canaries fans wild
Leicester’s form could threaten their Champions League spot, with the loss a big blow
Without Jamie Vardy, whose calf problem is the third muscle injury he has sustained in the space of two months, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers turned to Iheanacho. The former Manchester City striker suffered concussion against his old club last week but recovered in time to play here.
James Maddison was given warm applause by the home crowd on his first appearance at Carrow Road since he joined Leicester two years ago in a deal worth up to £24million, yet it was Daniel Farke’s men who made the brighter start, with Leicester looking to improve a recent run of only one win from six in the league.
Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell made promising early raids into Leicester territory before Ben Godfrey headed straight at Kasper Schmeichel in the ninth minute after Ondrej Duda had found him unmarked at the far post.
Kelechi Iheanacho celebrated his goal in the second-half but it was later ruled-out by VAR
Duda continued to ask questions of the Leicester defence. In the 21st minute, he picked out Teemu Pukki inside the box, forcing centre-back Caglar Soyuncu to make an important block.
Moments earlier, Dennis Praet shot straight at Tim Krul from the edge of the box after he had been teed up by Harvey Barnes. Barnes – a contender for an England senior call next month – was involved again soon afterwards.
He released Ricardo Pereira down the right, and the full-back’s cross richocheted off Praet’s knee and hit the outside of the post.
Though Leicester were starting to find space in dangerous areas, they let Norwich off the hook when it mattered. Twice Barnes wasted promising positions on the left, and Ayoze Perez struck weakly at Krul from 20 yards after a neat piece of skill to make room for the shot.
Leicester thought they had finally broken through after 49 minutes but Iheanacho had handled
Then, following a mishit clearance by Jamal Lewis, Pereira’s short cross was fired over on the turn by Iheanacho. Moments later, Jonny Evans headed Maddison’s corner straight at Krul.
Leicester thought they had made the perfect start to the second half when Iheanacho held off Godfrey and sent a crisp left-foot shot into the corner from 20 yards, only for VAR to instruct referee Craig Pawson to rule out the goal for handball.
The ball did bounce off Iheanacho’s hand as he tussled with Godfrey but Leicester felt VAR denied them two penalties in last weekend’s home defeat by Manchester City, and it was no surprise to see Rodgers exchange words with fourth official Jarred Gillett after the decision was overturned.
Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel made some important stops for the visitors on the night
Norwich, scrapping for their survival, were not afraid to go toe-to-toe and attack the Foxes
That reprieve gave Norwich and they started to test Leicester again, with Kasper Schmeichel showing superb agility to tip over Duda’s thunderbolt from 25 yards. At the other end, Barnes cut in from the left into a promising position, only to guide the ball into the arms of Krul.
The Dane was again at his best in the 65th minute to deny Duda from point-blank range as Norwich failed to make the most of a five-on-three counter-attack.
Yet Norwich did eventually make the breakthrough 20 minutes team when Aarons crossed from the right and Lewis – his fellow full-back – was given too much time and strike a perfect volley into the bottom corner.
Leicester piled on the pressure immediately after the goal and Norwich had to defend for their lives, with ferocious efforts by Ben Chilwell and substitute Youri Tielemans kept out by courageous last-ditch blocks.
And with Leicester leaving gaps at the back, substitute Josip Drmic saw his curling effort palmed away by Schmeichel.
Brendan Rodgers’ side had a stumbling February, failing to secure a single win throughout
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