Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Leicester City: Jamie Vardy strikes as Foxes go second
Leicester City climbed to second in the Premier League as they overcame top-four rivals Tottenham to move four points behind leaders Liverpool.
In a hard-fought battle between the sides starting the day third and fourth in the table - Spurs one point above the visitors - it was the latter who established themselves as champions Liverpool's closest challengers courtesy of Jamie Vardy's penalty and a Toby Alderweireld own goal.
Vardy confidently dispatched his spot-kick in the fourth minute of first-half injury time, after referee Craig Pawson was advised to review Serge Aurier's needless shove on Wesley Fofana via the pitchside monitor.
A VAR review for offside disallowed James Maddison's well-taken finish three minutes after the restart, but Vardy's header from Marc Albrighton's excellent cross deflected in off Alderweireld to double Leicester's advantage after 59 minutes.
Vardy's opener arrived at the end of a closely contested opening 45 minutes, during which Spurs captain Harry Kane's saved free-kick in the 34th minute and Foxes midfielder Maddison's deflected shot from distance were the only other attempts on target.
Son Heung-min was denied at close range by Kasper Schmeichel as Jose Mourinho's disappointing hosts were left frustrated in search of a response, while Leicester went close to a late third through Youri Tielemans.
Beaten 2-1 by Liverpool in their top-of-the-table meeting on Wednesday, former pacesetters Tottenham find themselves six points adrift of the lead.Another Christmas in second for Leicester
The true importance of this result to Leicester's season may only be revealed when the season concludes, but it is one which should serve to convince Brendan Rodgers' side of their place among the Premier League's current elite.
Securing a top-four spot after agonisingly falling short last season is the challenge for Rodgers, and this was the perfect response to Wednesday's below-par defeat by Everton which prevented the Foxes widening the gap to the chasing pack.
As demonstrated in the past week, the need to deliver consistency is paramount going forward for Leicester, whose midweek defeat arrived between a devastating attacking display against Brighton and this impressive victory over a side threatening a title challenge.
Despite troubles with their home form, the Foxes have been ruthless on the road, this their sixth win in seven league away games despite facing a Tottenham defence with the joint-best record in the competition.
Vardy had a shot blocked at close range and Maddison fired over as Leicester were invited to ask the early questions of the Spurs backline, and they eventually got the breakthrough their positive play deserved as Vardy sent his penalty down the middle for his 11th goal of the campaign.
The returning Jonny Evans delivered an assured performance alongside Fofana in defence as the Foxes never appeared in danger of relinquishing their lead after Alderweireld's own goal, earning Rodgers a first Premier League win over Mourinho in eight attempts.
It is the first time in the club's history that Leicester have sat in the top two of the top flight at Christmas in consecutive seasons, and their Champions League credentials will be tested once more against Manchester United next.
More to follow.
Player of the match
- Squad number1Player nameLlorisAverage rating
- Squad number7Player nameSon Heung-MinAverage rating
- Squad number5Player nameHøjbjergAverage rating
- Squad number3Player nameReguilónAverage rating
- Squad number15Player nameDierAverage rating
- Squad number10Player nameKaneAverage rating
- Squad number9Player nameBaleAverage rating
- Squad number4Player nameAlderweireldAverage rating
- Squad number17Player nameSissokoAverage rating
- Squad number18Player nameLo CelsoAverage rating
- Squad number28Player nameNdombeleAverage rating
- Squad number8Player nameWinksAverage rating
- Squad number27Player nameLucas MouraAverage rating
- Squad number24Player nameAurierAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameVardyAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameMaddisonAverage rating
Squad number25Player nameNdidiAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameJustinAverage rating
Squad number3Player nameFofanaAverage rating
Squad number1Player nameSchmeichelAverage rating
Squad number15Player nameBarnesAverage rating
Squad number11Player nameAlbrightonAverage rating
Squad number6Player nameEvansAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameTielemansAverage rating
Squad number27Player nameCastagneAverage rating
Squad number18Player nameAmarteyAverage rating
Squad number26Player namePraetAverage rating
Squad number14Player nameIheanachoAverage rating
- 24AurierSubstituted forWinksat 64'minutesBooked at 81mins
- 15DierBooked at 79mins
- 18Lo CelsoSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 49'minutes
- 28NdombeleSubstituted forBaleat 45'minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 27Lucas Moura
- 45Alves Morais
- 27CastagneSubstituted forAmarteyat 60'minutes
- 25NdidiBooked at 72mins
- 11AlbrightonBooked at 32mins
- 15BarnesSubstituted forPraetat 84'minutes
- 9VardySubstituted forIheanachoat 88'minutes
Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 0, Leicester City 2.