West Brom ends champ Leicester’s 20-game unbeaten home run
LEICESTER, England (AP) — Leicester’s 20-game unbeaten home league run ended as West Bromwich Albion beat the Premier League champions 2-1 on Sunday.
Matt Phillips exploited Danny Drinkwater’s error as West Brom inflicted Leicester’s fifth loss of the season but the first at the King Power Stadium in the league since September 2015.
Leicester forward Islam Slimani had quickly canceled out James Morrison’s second-half opener but Phillips’ goal ended Albion’s five-match winless streak.
Leicester’s focus on the Champions League — where Claudio Ranieri’s team needs one point from its final two group games to reach the last 16 — has impacted on the domestic form.
Leicester tumbled to 14th place as West Brom moved above the hosts into 11th.
Leicester only lost just three times in last season’s successful campaign for its first top-flight title, with Jamie Vardy again benched Sunday without a goal in his last 13 outings after a substitute appearance.
Leicester started on the back foot as Ron-Robert Zieler, in for Kasper Schmeichel after the goalkeeper fractured a hand in Wednesday’s 0-0 Champions League draw in Copenhagen, tipped Phillips’ low drive wide after just three minutes.
The Baggies made an aggressive start, helped by Leicester’s sloppy play, with Zieler rusty and the goalkeeper allowed Salomon Rondon to charge down his clearance.
Much like in their forgettable stalemate in Denmark, the Foxes were stifled with Slimani and the recalled Shinji Okazaki starved of service.
With Vardy benched, Leicester lacked the cunning to attack West Brom as Ahmed Musa and Riyad Mahrez remained on the periphery.
Darren Fletcher and Claudio Yacob screened the visitors’ defense well and it was the first time Leicester had failed to register a shot on target in the first half since returning to the Premier League in 2014.
In response Ranieri replaced Okazaki with Vardy at the break but the striker’s introduction failed to inspire the hosts.
West Brom took the lead seven minutes after the restart. Fine work from Rondon saw the ball eventually worked right.
Phillips’ cross struck Christian Fuchs and fell invitingly for Morrison to stoop and glance a fine 10-yard header across Zieler and into the corner.
The lead lasted just three minutes. Leicester equalized with its first effort of the game. Slimani’s cross-field pass found Mahrez and the striker wandered into the area unchecked. Mahrez’s cross then found fellow Algerian Slimani who timed his run perfectly to nod in his fifth strike of the season from six yards.
The goal reinvigorated Leicester but West Brom regained its composure and grabbed the winner in the 72nd.
Drinkwater’s wretched back-pass sent Phillips clear and the winger outpaced Wes Morgan to dink past Zieler.