'World class' Schmeichel saves Leicester with penalty stop

Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel saves a penalty taken by Brighton & Hove Albion's Neal Maupay,during the English Premier League match at King Power Stadium, Leicester on June 23, 2020
Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel saves a penalty taken by Brighton & Hove Albion's Neal Maupay,during the English Premier League match at King Power Stadium, Leicester on June 23, 2020
Image: ANDREW BOYERS / REUTERS

Brendan Rodgers hailed Kasper Schmeichel as "world class" after the Leicester goalkeeper saved Neal Maupay's penalty in his side's 0-0 draw with Brighton on Tuesday.

Schmeichel came to Leicester's rescue when he plunged to his right to stop Maupay's spot-kick early in the first half at the King Power Stadium.

That was the highlight of a patchy performance from third-placed Leicester in Rodgers' 50th game in charge.

"Kasper has made a great save from the penalty, he's invaluable," Rodgers said of the Denmark international.

"He's a world-class goalkeeper. There is absolutely no doubt that he is one of the top goalkeepers in this league.

"Just his presence in the goal and his leadership. He studies penalty takers and puts in the work and he's so agile.

"He's been absolutely brilliant in the two games back."

The Foxes are now four points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and nine ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Brighton move six points clear of the relegation zone, but Maupay's miss denied them a second successive victory after the French striker scored the winner against Arsenal on Saturday.

Brighton gave first Premier League starts to Tariq Lamptey, 19, and Alexis Mac Allister, 21, making Graham Potter's starting line-up the youngest the Seagulls had ever fielded in the Premier League.

Potter hailed his raw team's never-say-die spirit, saying: "We have to fight all the way. From the last two games, you can see we are ready for the fight.

"We had to battle. The first half we were really good, carried a threat and reduced a good side to not too much.

"I'm proud of the endeavour and work rate. Sometimes Kasper Schmeichel is good at saving them. It happens, you move on."

Just 24 hours after a 'White Lives Matters' banner organised by Burnley fans flew over their match against Manchester City, both teams at the King Power maintained the trend of taking a knee before kick-off in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Leicester were held to a 1-1 draw at Watford in their first game back from the coronavirus hiatus on Saturday, with Ben Chilwell's 90th-minute strike cancelled out by Craig Dawson's stoppage-time equaliser for the hosts.

The only drama came early this time and it was another of Brighton's youngsters, 20-year-old Aaron Connolly, who unlocked the Leicester defence in the 14th minute.

Racing onto Aaron Mooy's long pass, Connolly muscled his way ahead of Leicester defender James Justin, who responded to the threat by clipping the forward in the penalty area.

The penalty was confirmed after a VAR review, but Schmeichel came to Leicester's rescue as he dived to his right to save Maupay's strike.

It was a miss that might have drawn a few smiles from the Arsenal players Maupay accused of lacking "humility" after a stormy clash that saw the forward accused of deliberately injuring Gunners keeper Bernd Leno.

Brighton keeper Mat Ryan nearly gifted Leicester a goal when he threw the ball behind him by mistake as he attempted a roll out, only avoiding huge embarrassment by scrambling to save at Jamie Vardy's feet.

On a scorching hot summer evening, Leicester were dominating possession but their top-scorer Vardy was held in check as he chased his 100th Premier League goal.

Vardy did have a penalty shout in stoppage-time when his header struck Lewis Dunk's arm, but Leicester's appeals were in vain.

- AFP

 

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