Leicester 0-1 Bournemouth: Billing scores in relegation clash

Leicester 0-1 Bournemouth: Philip Billing scores vital goal in battle against relegation as Gary O’Neil’s side boost their survival hopes by moving up to 15th… but managerless Foxes are left stranded second from bottom

  • Philip Billing scored as Bournemouth beat fellow strugglers Leicester 1-0
  • The victory sees Gary O’Neil’s side move up to 15th place in the Premier League
  • Leicester, who are looking to appoint Jesse Marsch, remain in 19th place 

Bournemouth showed Jesse Marsch that saving Leicester City might just be the impossible job right now.

Marsch is the man the Foxes want to lead them to survival after they sacked Brendan Rodgers, and before kick-off were expecting him to be signed, sealed and delivered in the next 24 hours at the King Power.

But if the former Leeds boss was watching this rubbish, he might just be forgiven for having second thoughts, because Leicester are a team sleepwalking to relegation right now.

Bournemouth top scorer Philip Billing put them right up against it with his seventh goal of the season as the visitors, who had lost eight of their previous nine away games, completely dominated.

But the Foxes were the architects of their own downfall, with James Maddison absolutely gifting Billing his goal, and although they rallied a little late in the game, it never really felt like the comeback was on.

Philip Billing celebrates after his goal put Bournemouth in the lead against Leicester

Billing is congratulated by his Bournemouth team-mates after opening the scoring

Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi and Wouft Faes show their frustrating following Billing’s goal


LEICESTER (4-3-3): Iversen 6; Pereira 5 (Iheanacho 57, 6), Amartey 5, Faes 7, Castagne 6; Soumare 5, Ndidi 5 (Praet 81, 5), Kristiansen 6.5; Maddison 4, Vardy 5 (Daka 57, 6)), Barnes 6 (Tete 72, 6)

Subs: Ward, Evans, Souttar, Mendy, Praet, Thomas, Tete

BOURNEMOUTH (4-4-1-1): Neto 6; A Smith 6, Stephens 7, Mepham 6, Kelly 6; Christie 6, Rothwell 6.5 (Cook 59, 6), Lerma 6, Outtara 5 (Tavernier 38, 6); Billing 8; Solanke 7 (Semenyo 87, 5).

Subs: Travers, Brooks, Vina, Moore, Zabarnyi, Anthony

Referee: David Coote 6

Man of the match: Philip Billing

By the time referee David Coote put them out of their misery, the stands were half empty – and those who stayed made their feelings clear with a chorus of boos.

Maybe Marsch is a long-term project. Maybe he fancies a shot at bringing Leicester back up if they do go down. But this is a team with problems all over the pitch at the moment.

Bournemouth, who usually travel about as well as a clapped out old banger, shaded a low-quality first half where both sides failed to get going.

A Victor Kristiansen foul on the edge box brought the game’s first big chance, with Philip Billing curling a free kick off the outside of the post.

Billing has consistently been the Bournemouth danger man this season, and he soon went close again with a deflected shot which Daniel Iversen did well to parry.

Then, an edgy-looking Leicester defence opened up nicely for Dominic Solanke, who should have done better than to drag his effort wide.

Leicester were not at the races – and shot themselves right in the foot when the most talented player on the pitch dropped his team-mates right in it.

Maddison has so often been the star man for the Foxes, but he had his head in his hands after playing a blind backless to present Billing with the easiest of opportunities.

And boos rained down on the home side when he despatched it past Iversen with barely a defender in sight. 

Gary O’Neil saw his Bournemouth side secure what could prove to be a very important win

Adam Sadler took caretaker charge of Leicester, who have yet to replace Brendan Rodgers

Trying his best to make up for his mistake, Maddison quickly had a shot blocked at the other end but the natives were restless at half time, booing their team off the pitch.

Leicester didn’t manage a shot on target in the first half and were second best for long spells, showing the kind of apathy normally reserved for mid-table teams with nothing to play for at this stage of the season.

The Foxes are in real peril. Before kick-off, no other team had taken fewer points since Christmas.

But it didn’t seem to spur them to life after the break, as Iversen did brilliantly to stick out a leg and prevent Solanke doubling Bournemouth’s lead.

That led to angry cries of: “Wake up!” From fans around the press box – and moments later Jamie Vardy fizzed a ball across the box that was begging Harvey Barnes to finish.

Iversen saved again from Solanke before Joe Rothwell’s follow-up was blocked by Kristiansen as Bournemouth pushed for that killer second.

So there was huge applause when caretaker boss Sandler bit the bullet and threw on Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka with most of the second half still to play.

James Maddison was left disappointed with his error in the build-up to Billing’s goal

The Leicester supporters were frustrated, with their side losing for the third game in a row

Lloyd Kelly of Bournemouth heads the ball under pressure from Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira

Leicester didn’t show up until there was only 20 minutes left in the match, but they suffered a blow when Harvey Barnes was forced off injured.

And even though they huffed and puffed, they never looked like blowing Bournemouth’s house down, with Wout Faes coming up with two huge blocks at the other end as the visitors continued to threaten.

As the minutes ticked on a worried hush settled over the stadium as fans fretted, and then voiced their frustration as their team struggled to find any rhythm.

The announcement of at least six minutes of added time perked them up a bit, but Leicester could have played for six hours and still not scored.

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