Jamie Vardy maintained his brilliant scoring streak as Leicester beat Brighton for their fifth successive Premier League win to strengthen their hold on the second spot.
The Foxes remain eight points behind leaders Liverpool but are now three clear of third-placed Chelsea and four points above Manchester City before those teams meet later on Saturday.
Vardy has been key to the Foxes’ form and he once again was the shining light on a dark, rainy day on the south coast.
The striker set up Ayoze Perez for the 64th-minute opener after swift counter-attack and then added the second from the spot, after his initial spot-kick, saved and headed in by James Maddison, had to be retaken for encroachment.
Foxes goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel failed to be tested once by the home side, although Wilfred Ndidi made a brilliant block to deny Martin Montoya from hitting the target.
Jamie Vardy has scored in five consecutive Premier League games for Leicester, netting seven goals in total in that run – he has also scored more Premier League goals than any other player in 2019 (24)
Is it time for the England manager to drop Vardy a line?
The 32-year-old effectively called time on his international career after the World Cup in 2018, but Gareth Southgate said at the start of the month that he had been “monitoring” the striker’s progress this season.
There was a suggestion that Southgate wanted to focus on younger players in that position, but can he continue to leave out a player who has now scored nine goals in seven league games?
Today, when his supply line failed to service him, Vardy turned provider for his team-mates and himself.
The first goal was about his searing pace as he flew down the right before setting up Perez, who had moments earlier missed a similar chance.
He then got his goal from the spot after his initial effort had to be retaken, the penalty award coming after Demarai Gray had been fouled by Adam Webster.
Vardy’s effort was saved by Mat Ryan before the ball was headed in by James Maddison, but the England midfielder’s celebrations were cut short when VAR informed referee Mike Dean of encroachment, gifting Vardy a reprieve.
Brighton came into this game having won their previous three at the Amex, but it never looked like they would make it four.
They were on the back foot in the opening period and needed Ryan to produce a brilliant save to prevent Vardy’s header going in, shortly after Perez’s header hit the woodwork.
Graham Potter’s side gave the home support a little more to cheer about in the second half, Montoya and Neal Maupay denied by the brilliant defending of Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu.
The Seagulls remain comfortably in mid-table but it is a trip to Anfield next.
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Source – BBC