Carlos Alcaraz grabbed the only goal as Southampton beat Leicester City 1-0 at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday to move off the bottom of the table with its second Premier League win in three matches under new manager Ruben Selles.
The win moves Southampton up to 19th on 21 points from 25 games, ahead of Bournemouth, which was beaten by Arsenal earlier on Saturday. Leicester is 15th, having dropped down a place after Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Tottenham Hotspur.
“Huge result. It has been a tough couple of weeks with a few home truths. You saw a turning point in our season,” Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse told Sky Sports.
Southampton started strongly, and its pressure told when Timothy Castagne handled the ball in the 31st minute to give away a penalty. Ward-Prowse stepped up to take the spot kick, but his well-struck effort was saved by Danny Ward.
“I’d rather take a free-kick (than a penalty), sometimes you score them, sometimes you don’t,” added Ward-Prowse, who has missed two penalties this season but has scored three free-kicks.
“Fair play to the keeper, but three points is better than any goal you can score.”
Carlos Alcaraz opened the scoring for the hosts in the 34th minute, calmly slotting his effort into the bottom corner past Ward after being played through by Che Adams. There was an anxious wait for a VAR check and a huge roar when the goal was given.
Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho was a nuisance throughout, but he missed a string of chances, the best of which came in the 49th minute when he failed to hit the target with a free header from six yards out.
Brendan Rodgers brought on Jamie Vardy as the visitors pressed for an equaliser in the second half, and Harry Souttar rattled the crossbar with a header in added time, but Southampton held on to claim its first home win since August.
Leicester, which failed to get a shot on target in the 90 minutes, has lost its last three league games. It is three points above the relegation zone.
Manager Rodgers said Leicester has struggled for consistency this season, but added that his side can take heart from the chances they created on the night.
“We started the season poorly, one point from six games, and then we went on a nice run, but we haven’t found our rhythm since we came back from the World Cup,” Rodgers told the BBC.
“We just need to stay together now and keep fighting.
“When I see the team perform like tonight it gives me confidence. The worry is if you’re not creating chances. A draw would have been disappointing but I really feel for the players.”
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