Vardy the matchwinner as Leicester beats Chelsea 1-0

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              Leicester's Jamie Vardy scores his side opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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LONDON (AP) — Leicester won at Chelsea for the first time in 18 years after a goal by former England striker Jamie Vardy clinched a surprise 1-0 away victory in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Eden Hazard struck the crossbar in the first half and teammate Marcus Alonso hit the post late on as fourth-placed Chelsea lost at home in the league for the first time this season.

A run of two wins in 12 games led to media speculation that Claude Puel’s job as Leicester coach was in jeopardy.

Vardy said on Friday that Puel’s patient playing style did not suit him but his goal showed the value of having a top striker in the team.

Leicester had very little of the ball and frequently fouled dangerman Hazard as Chelsea dominated.

Against the run of play, Wilfried Ndidi struck a superb 25-meter effort which home goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga did well to turn over the bar.

Leicester then stunned the Stamford Bridge crowd after 51 minutes following Ricardo Pereira’s strong run down the right. He found James Maddison, who set up Vardy for his sixth goal of the season.

“We played well for 55 minutes,” Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri said. “In some situations we were unlucky but we could have done something better.

“After the goal the reaction was not the right reaction. We reacted a little shocked and with mental confusion. We had to only keep playing like we did before the goal, there was time to recover.”

Puel, by contrast, was delighted to see his Leicester team climb to ninth in the standings.

“It was fantastic hard work from the team, first to defend and after to try and counterattack,” he said. “It is a fantastic feeling today, hopefully we continue in this way.”