Belfast Telegraph

Sweet revenge as Puel returns to haunt the Saints

Southampton 1-4 Leicester City

By Nick Purewal

Claude Puel exacted revenge on his first return to Southampton as Leicester romped to a 4-1 Premier League win at St Mary's.

Shinji Okazaki's brace and further goals from Riyad Mahrez and Andy King eased Leicester past the struggling Saints, who could only muster a scrappy effort from Maya Yoshida.

Frenchman Puel was sacked in the summer despite last term leading Southampton to an eighth-place finish and the League Cup final.

Leicester's joyful travelling fans seized on the chance to mock their hosts, chirping up with: "Aren't you glad you sacked Puel?"

Toothless in attack and disorganised at the back, Saints' performance mirrored that of many under Puel last term.

Mahrez could hardly believe the time and space afforded to him by Southampton's defence as he cantered through and rifled in Leicester's facile opener.

Okazaki had one strike palmed away by Fraser Forster, then another cleared off the line.

Leicester hardly had to work to double their lead, a deep corner catching Saints napping and Okazaki poking in at the second attempt.

And when the visitors swept home their third, the home faithful headed indoors in their droves some seven minutes from half-time.

Harry Maguire's expert chest-down and spin bamboozled Saints' defence such that no one cleared his low cross - leaving an unmarked King with the tap-in.

Mauricio Pellegrino sacrificed holding midfielder Oriol Romeu for striker Manolo Gabbiadini but little changed before the hour.

Yoshida's header found its way in to cut the deficit, but the unconvinced home fans could only chorus their amazement.

Austin should have doubled the hosts' tally when sliding onto Ryan Bertrand's cross only to side-foot too close to Schmeichel.

Leicester killed any delusions of a Saints recovery when Mahrez pounced on a loose pass and fed Vardy, whose low cross was easily swept home by Okazaki.

SOUTHAMPTON: Forster, Soares, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Bertrand, Romeu (Gabbiadini 45), Lemina, Tadic (Ward-Prowse 83), Davis, Boufal (Redmond 62), Austin. Subs not used: Stephens, Long, McCarthy, Højbjerg.

LEICESTER: Schmeichel, Simpson, Maguire, Morgan, Fuchs, Ndidi, King, Mahrez (Albrighton 72), Okazaki, Chilwell (Ulloa 83), Vardy (Gray 72). Subs not used: Hamer, Dragovic, Amartey, Iborra.

Man of the match: Okazaki

Match rating: 8/10 Ref: Chris Kavanagh

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