ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Leicester City 1
LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino had hoped that his former club would do his current one a favour. The Argentinian and his second-placed side did not receive one.
Leaders Leicester City defeated Southampton 1-0 in the English Premier League yesterday to go seven points clear at the top with six games left.
Only Sunderland, West Ham, Swansea, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea stand between the Foxes and their first top-flight title.
Win four of those fixtures and Leicester will be crowned the new kings of England.
They certainly showed their championship pedigree yesterday. The victory was their fourth consecutive 1-0 league win as they continue to grind out results. The difference? A new scorer.
With usual suspects Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez kept relatively quiet at the King Power Stadium, captain Wes Morgan eased their scoring burden with his first goal of the season. The defender out-jumped Jordy Clasie to power Christian Fuchs' cross past Fraser Forster for the 38th-minute winner.
"We saw the (Spurs) game yesterday was a draw and wanted to make the most of our opportunity. We really wanted it today," Morgan said. "I was quite ill yesterday but obviously I wanted to play."
He also led the backline to a clean sheet, limiting the visitors to just two shots on target.
Yet Southampton should have taken the lead in the 32nd minute, when Sadio Mane rounded Kasper Schmeichel. But his goal-bound shot hit Danny Simpson's forearm, which was against his body. Southampton appealed for a penalty but Michael Oliver waved play on.
Jose Fonte then forced Schmeichel into a good save with a rising drive from 25 metres. But the better chances soon fell to the hosts.
Just past the hour, it took a superb one-handed stop from Southampton goalkeeper Forster to prevent Fonte steering Danny Drinkwater's cross into his own net. Ten minutes later Forster was at it again, parrying from right on the goal-line after Simpson took aim at a gaping goal.
A second goal never came but Leicester did not need one.
"Clean sheet, three points, step by step," Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri said. "They had a fantastic chance but Simpson made a fantastic save. It was very close to him, he was running and his arm was very close to his body."
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman disagreed with that controversial moment, as his team remained seventh after a first defeat in four matches.
"For the third match in a row we don't get a 100 per cent penalty," said the Dutchman.
"Sadio Mane's shot hits Danny Simpson and it is a red card and a penalty. If it is not a hand-ball, it is a goal. I don't know what they are doing. This is a big match. It is about the Premier League title and our ambitions to play in Europe."