Belfast Telegraph

Pugh brings Leicester back down to earth after weekend masterclass

Bournemouth 1 Leicester 0

By Nick Mashiter

Marc Pugh capped his first start of the season with a smart strike as Bournemouth outclassed Leicester 1-0 on the south coast.

The Cherries moved up to eighth in the Premier League after inflicting Leicester's eighth defeat in 16 matches of their title defence. Eddie Howe's men repeatedly carved a chasm between Riyad Mahrez and Christian Fuchs on the Foxes' left, and that proved sufficient for victory.

The Bournemouth boss grabbed full dividend from the calculated gamble to deploy full-back Adam Smith in midfield, Nathan Ake at centre-back and Jack Wilshere in a deeper role.

Simon Francis' link play with Smith bisected Leicester's slow-reacting defence, culminating in Pugh volleying home the winner.

Leicester were left to rue another miserable performance, and a chance to build momentum was well and truly wasted.

Saturday's 4-2 win over Manchester City was meant to light up the Foxes' season, but has instead proved another false start.

Claudio Ranieri's men ignored several warnings, before the Cherries' ploy bore fruit.

Francis sent Smith into that exposed right channel, and the newly-minted midfield man delivered an expert cross.

Benik Afobe met Smith's cutback on the run, drawing a smart save from Ron-Robert Zieler at the near post.

The Leicester keeper could only parry however, teeing up a tough chance for Pugh - but he produced a fine technical finish.

Bournemouth ran out of steam on the hour and a clutch of miscued passes, including two from goalkeeper Artur Boruc, handed Leicester a territorial foothold.

Robert Huth headed wide from a corner when unmarked at the far post, then Shinji Okazaki proved equally wayward with a 20-yard dip.

Both teams reaped their just rewards however, with Bournemouth again proving their Premier League mettle.

BOURNEMOUTH: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels, Arter, Wilshere, Smith, King (Gosling 79), Pugh, Afobe (Wilson 68, Mings 93). Goals: Pugh 34 Subs not used: Gradel, Smith, Federici, Ibe.

LEICESTER: Zieler, Hernandez, Morgan, Huth (Ulloa 81), Fuchs, Mahrez, King, Amartey, Albrighton (Musa 74), Vardy, Slimani (Okazaki 45). Subs not used: Chilwell, Hamer, Gray, Mendy

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