Belfast Telegraph

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez may pay penalty for latest spot-kick miss in Aston Villa draw

Aston Villa 1 - Leicester 1

By Nick Mashiter

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri will speak to Riyad Mahrez to decide whether the winger will keep his penalty duties. The Algeria international saw his second straight spot-kick saved in the Foxes' 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Goalkeeper Mark Bunn denied Mahrez from 12 yards following Aly Cissokho's handball after Bournemouth's Artur Boruc also saved his penalty in a 0-0 draw earlier this month.

Leicester regained the Premier League lead by a point despite the miss - before Arsenal's draw at Stoke yesterday pegged them back on goal difference - but Ranieri will talk to Mahrez, with Jamie Vardy next in line.

"Now, it isn't important if I change the penalty kicker,'' said the Italian. "I'll speak with him and then I'll choose.

"From the bench it was difficult to see if it was handball but if it's a penalty, it's a red card.

"We are very sad but I say to the players 'if we put in the performance the result is not important'. The performance was good because we played well in the first-half. It's one point, it's okay, it's a derby - but we are disappointed.''

Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring only for Rudy Gestede to level with 15 minutes left to deny the Foxes.

Bunn saved Mahrez's penalty in just his second league appearance in almost three years to keep Villa in the game.

He has replaced Brad Guzan for Villa's last three games and boss Remi Garde has been pleased with his impact.

He said: "If you look at the previous week, Mark did well. I feel Mark gives a little bit more confidence to the team.

"If he had not saved the penalty, probably 2-0 down would have been too difficult. He kept us in the game."

Meanwhile, Leicester are hopeful of sealing a deal for FC Copenhagen's Daniel Amartey.

The Foxes are in talks with the 21-year-old midfielder as boss Ranieri seeks to bolster his squad for their shock title assault.

Ghana international Amartey has six caps for his country and would become the Foxes' second January signing after Demarai Gray joined from Birmingham for £3.75million.

Amartey started his career with Swedish side Djurgarden before moving to Denmark in 2014. His arrival is likely to trigger a loan move for Gokhan Inler, with the Swiss captain wanting first-team football ahead of Euro 2016. Villa are interested in the midfielder while a move to Schalke has not materialised.

Belfast Telegraph


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