Leicester promotion hopes hurt as Bundu strike earns Plymouth victory

Estimated read time 4 min read

Leaders Leicester missed the chance to move clear at the top of the Championship as they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat away at relegation threatened Plymouth, thanks to Mustapha Bundu’s 21st-minute winner.

Second-placed Ipswich remain level on points with Leicester, with Leeds a point further back before their games on Saturday. All three clubs have four matches left to play. Managerless Argyle climbed to 16th on the back of their first home win in seven, under the caretaker management team of the director of football, Neil Dewsnip, and the first-team coach, Kevin Nancekivell, and now sit five points clear of the bottom three.

It only took five minutes for Leicester to test the home goalkeeper Michael Cooper, Abdul Fatawu’s thumping right-footed shot – following a flowing move – forcing him into a diving save low down to his left.

Ricardo Pereira was next to work Cooper, after a defence-splitting one-two with Wilfred Ndidi. Again, it was all the diving Cooper could do to parry the ball away. Stephy Mavididi latched on to the aerial ball and headed it back across the goal, which resulted in a goalmouth scramble and Argyle eventually clearing the ball.

Mavididi went close with a curling 13th-minute shot after being teed up by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on the edge of the box. The attacking midfielder’s shot beat Cooper for pace but flew just past the post.

Totally against the run of play, Plymouth stunned their visitors with a 21st-minute goal on the counterattack. Adam Forshaw intercepted a Leicester attack and released Bundu with a superb, measured pass through the middle of the park. Bundu sprinted forward and – as he got into the penalty box – let fly with a fierce angled drive from the right that beat diving Mads Hermansen and rocketed into the far corner.

Harry Winks fired wide from 20 yards as Argyle failed to clear their lines following another Leicester corner with the half-hour mark approaching. Plymouth’s next best chance fell to Bundu, after good work by Forshaw and Joe Edwards, but this time the striker fired high over.

Cooper did well to save low at his near post as Dewsbury-Hall fired across the face of goal in the 44th minute from close range. The keeper was again called into action early in the second half as he made another save, while Dewsbury-Hall tried his luck from 25 yards moments later.

Michael Cooper saves a shot for PlymouthView image in fullscreen

Dan Scarr did well to stoop and head a pacy Fatawu cross from the right away at the near post as Leicester continued to press or an equaliser. Fatawu’s next cross from the right found Patson Daka and his deft near-post touch beat Cooper but spun past the far upright. Daka’s last action was firing wide when well placed at the far post after 67 minutes. He was replaced by Jamie Vardy.

With just over 15 minutes remaining, Wout Faes’s cross from the right was smashed towards goal by Mavididi but Cooper was equal to the effort once again. Cooper made an even better stop, bravely diving in to deny Vardy as the Leicester striker broke into the box, one-on-one, in the 88th minute but the hosts held on for the much-needed victory.

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Meanwhile, Leicester will not be deducted Championship points if found to have breached Premier League financial rules before the end of the season, the English Football League has announced. The club were charged with breaching the top flight’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) last month in relation to the assessment period ending with the 2022-23 season, when they were still a Premier League club.

The club issued “urgent legal proceedings” on 22 March against that charge, and against an EFL transfer embargo. The EFL revealed on Friday that as part of those proceedings, Leicester had sought an interim injunction preventing any sporting sanction – such as a points penalty – being imposed in the current season, with the team battling Leeds and Ipswich for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

However, the EFL has now said that after taking legal advice it does not have the power under its rules as currently drafted to impose any points penalty ordered by an independent commission set up to hear a Premier League charge, and has confirmed that to all parties concerned. It said Leicester’s application for an injunction was therefore no longer necessary.

There had been no realistic expectation that any points penalty arising from the Premier League charge would end up being applied to this season’s total, given the timescales involved.

Source: theguardian.com

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