Match Reports

Amartey sinks Albion hearts

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Late Leicester goal sees visitors snatch all three points.

By Bruce Talbot • 06 March 2021

By James Boardman
Daniel Amartey fired in late on to condemn Albion to defeat.
  • Albion 1, Leicester City 2

Adam Lallana scored his first Albion goal but Albion conceded twice in the second half as they went down 2-1 to second-placed Leicester City at the Amex.

Albion went in front after 14 minutes when Lallana finished off a fine move and the midfielder also hit the post in a dominant first-half display by the hosts.

But Kelechi Iheanacho levelled just past the hour as high-flying Leicester responded impressively and three minutes from time Daniel Amartey headed home from close range. It was harsh on the hosts, who put a lot into the game especially in the first half.

What happened...

Lallana was starting his first Premier League game since December 27 in Albion's only change with Aaron Connolly (back) ruled out. There was a place on the bench for Jose Izquierdo.

Albion began brightly, switching play to stretch the Foxes and moving the ball quickly. Lallana was involved in a good move in the seventh minute with a pass to Pascal Gross. The German's cut-back was diverted by Wesley Fofana, the ball whistling just wide of his own post.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana's teammates run over to celebrate the opener.

Three minutes later Lallana struck. Dan Burn won a header which found Lallana. He helped it on to Neal Maupay who held off a defender and cleverly teed up Lallana 15 yards out and his emphatic finish gave Kasper Schmeichel no chance.

Lallana had an effort blocked inside the D after Gross and Alexis Mac Allister combined before Leicester threatened for the first time when Rob Sanchez had to be both brave and alert to halt Ricardo Pereira when he looked to have got in behind.

Albion continued to dominate the ball with Lallana enjoying lots of space in front of the visitors' back three, but Sanchez produced a superb one-handed save in the 36th minute, diving to his left to keep out a thunderous volley from Sidnei Tavares after Jamie Yardy had cushioned a long ball into his path.

By Paul Hazlewood
Neal Maupay makes his way back after being flagged for offside.

It was turning into a virtuoso performance by Lallana who nearly had a second moments later. Gross whipped in a free kick from wide on the left and the midfielder's deft flick bounced off the outside of the far post, much to Schmeichel's relief. Lallana then played a lovely left-footed ball to Maupay who clipped the ball past Schmeichel but from a fractionally offside position.

A reaction from the Foxes was to be expected in the second half and Iheanacho's powerful drive from the inside-left channel into the side netting was a warning while Yves Bissouma, Lewis Dunk and Joel Veltman made important tackles as the Foxes enjoyed a good spell of possession.

Leicester, who boast the best away record in the league with just one defeat, were on top and it was 1-1 just past the hour when Iheanacho, whose goal knocked Albion out of the FA Cup last month, produced a deft finish from ten yards after Youri Tielemans laid on the chance with a wonderful no-look pass.

By James Boardman
Kelechi Iheanacho gets the visitors on level terms.

Bissouma made another great interception in the box to rob Tavares before Albion made their first change with Steven Alzate replacing Mac Allister and Albion switching to a back three.

Going into the final third the game was getting stretched. Maupay had a shot blocked after a mistake by Fofana before Sanchez denied Tielemans, who was then booked for bringing down Leandro Trossard as he made a dash down the right.

Danny Welbeck replaced Lallana with 11 minutes and moments later Albion had their best chance of the second half. Gross broke down the right and expertly teed up Lallana whose shot on the stretch still forced an excellent save from Schmeichel.

At the other end Dunk’s outstretched leg denied Jamie Vardy as Leicester appealed for a penalty but moments later the visitors won it. Sanchez failed to clear an inswinging corner from Tielemans and Amartey stooped to guide a free header into an empty net.

Dan Burn couldn't get on the end of Dunk's header at the far post in stoppage time as Albion sought an equaliser. It was defeat that was tough to take and Albion will look to bounce back at Southampton next Sunday.

Lallana's milestones

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana celebrates his first Albion goal, putting his side in front against Leicester City.

Two minutes after he scored the midfielder clocked up 1000 competitive minutes for the first time since the 2016-17 season when he was at Liverpool. It was his first goal since October 2019, 32 games ago and was the highlight of an excellent performance.

The line-up

Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk, White, Burn, Bissouma (Jahanbakhsh 90), Gross, Mac Allister (Alzate 69), Lallana, Trossard, Maupay (Welbeck 79).

Subs: Steele, Moder, Jahanbakhsh, Izquierdo, Tau, Propper, Zeqiri.

Referee: Michael Oliver