James Maddison scored twice as Leicester produced a relentless first-half display to beat Brighton and climb to third in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old struck twice before half-time, his second a sublime, curled finish into the top corner after he had slotted in from Jamie Vardy’s blocked shot.
Vardy, making a record-equalling 222nd Premier League appearance for the Foxes, scored his side’s second from James Justin’s low cross.
A breathless opening period had included great chances for both sides, as Mat Ryan denied Marc Albrighton inside the first five minutes and Kasper Schmeichel was equal to attempts by Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Danny Welbeck as Brighton threatened on the break.
With the points secured before the interval, Brendan Rodgers’ side comfortably saw out a much quieter second period to move one point behind Tottenham and Liverpool, after both were held to draws on Sunday.
Brighton remain 16th but are now just two points above the relegation places following Fulham’s draw against the champions.
Maddison hints at return to best in impressive win
Aware many of their expected top-four rivals had dropped points over the course of the weekend, Leicester’s motivation to take full advantage at the King Power Stadium was evident in their high-octane start.
Maddison’s first ever Premier League double and Vardy’s 10th goal of the campaign were deserved reward for a superb, free-flowing first-half display, in which the Foxes landed 13 shots at goal.
Vardy’s first opportunity came when his first-time hit from Justin’s excellent pass was saved by Ryan – and he also struck the post before making no mistake when Justin again delivered from the right.
Equalling Muzzy Izzet’s appearances tally, Vardy then teed up Maddison – whose sole England cap arrived over a year ago – for his excellent left-footed finish, which typified a performance indicative of a player nearing a return to his best.
Despite missing a number of key players to injury, defenders Caglar Soyuncu and Timothy Castagne among those still absent, Rodgers’ side continue to apply pressure at the summit in a start which has also seen them successfully juggle their Europa League commitments.
Converting their good start – reignited by this showing and Vardy’s late Bramall Lane winner last weekend that ended a four-game winless run – is a must for Leicester, after last season’s collapse which began over the Christmas period.
On this evidence, they are in good shape to do so ahead of key meetings with Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United in the next 13 days.
More to follow.
Brighton & Hove Albion
- 6EvansBooked at 78mins
- 28FuchsBooked at 22mins
- 25NdidiSubstituted forMendyat 80′minutes
- 17PérezSubstituted forBarnesat 62′minutes
- 10MaddisonSubstituted forPraetat 75′minutes
- 33BurnBooked at 72mins
- 8BissoumaSubstituted forMac Allisterat 72′minutes
- 16JahanbakhshSubstituted forAlzateat 55′minutes
- 18WelbeckSubstituted forConnollyat 62′minutes
- 10Mac Allister
Match ends, Leicester City 3, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 3, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Solly March.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Joël Veltman.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Dan Burn.
Foul by Dennis Praet (Leicester City).
Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben White (Brighton and Hove Albion).
James Justin (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Neal Maupay (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Attempt blocked. Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Pascal Groß with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jonny Evans.
Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Steven Alzate (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Substitution, Leicester City. Nampalys Mendy replaces Wilfred Ndidi.
Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by James Justin.