Schmeichel saves Leicester with penalty stop in Brighton draw


Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Kasper Schmeichel was Leicester's hero on Tuesday after the Denmark goalkeeper saved Neal Maupay's penalty in his side's goalless draw with Brighton.

Schmeichel came to Leicester's rescue when he plunged to his right to stop Maupay's spot-kick early in the first half at the King Power Stadium.

That was the highlight of a patchy performance from third-placed Leicester in boss Brendan Rodgers' 50th game in charge.

The Foxes are now four points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and nine ahead of fifth placed Manchester United in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Brighton move six points clear of the relegation zone, but Maupay's miss denied them a second successive victory after the French striker scored the winner against Arsenal on Saturday.

Just 24 hours after a 'White Lives Matters' banner organised by Burnley fans flew over their match against Manchester City, both teams at the King Power maintained the trend of taking a knee before kick-off in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brighton gave first Premier League starts to Tariq Lamptey, 19, and Alexis Mac Allister, 21, making Graham Potter's starting line-up the youngest the Seagulls had ever fielded in the Premier League.

Leicester were held to a 1-1 draw at Watford in their first game back from the coronavirus hiatus on Saturday, with Ben Chilwell's 90th minute strike cancelled out by Craig Dawson's stoppage-time equaliser for the hosts.

The only drama came early this time and it was another of Brighton's youngsters, 20-year-old Aaron Connolly, who unlocked the Leicester defence in the 14th minute.

Racing onto Aaron Mooy's long pass, Connolly muscled his way ahead of Leicester defender James Justin, who responded to the threat by clipping the forward in the penalty area.

The penalty was confirmed after a VAR review, but Schmeichel came to Leicester's rescue as he dived to his right to save Maupay's strike.

It was a miss that might have drawn a few smiles from the Arsenal players Maupay accused of lacking "humility" after a stormy clash that saw the forward accused of deliberately injuring Gunners keeper Bernd Leno.

Connolly caused more problems for the Leicester defence with a nimble turn and shot that forced a last-ditch block from Caglar Soyuncu.

Brighton keeper Mat Ryan nearly gifted Leicester a goal when he threw the ball behind him by mistake as he attempted a roll out, only avoiding huge embarrassment by scrambling to save at Jamie Vardy's feet.

Soyuncu headed wide from close-range after Wilfred Ndidi's shot deflected into his path.

On a scorching hot summer evening, neither team could establish much rhythm and the lack of intensity that has been so noticable since the Premier League returned made for another tepid encounter.

Leicester were dominating possession but their top scorer Vardy was held in check as he chased his 100th Premier League goal.

Vardy did have a penalty shout in stoppage-time when his header struck Lewis Dunk's arm, but Leicester's appeals were in vain.