Soccer-Leicester stun Villa with comeback victory

Soccer Football - Premier League - Aston Villa v Leicester City - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - February 4, 2023 Leicester City players celebrate after the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) -Leicester City twice came from a goal down in a frenetic first half to eventually claim a 4-2 victory at Aston Villa to ease their Premier League relegation fears on Saturday.

It looked like another bleak day for out-of-form Leicester when Ollie Watkins gave Villa an early lead from close range.

James Maddison levelled soon afterwards but Leicester's new signing Harry Souttar then scored into his own goal.

But Leicester stunned their hosts with Kelechi Iheanacho heading past Emiliano Martinez in the 41st minute and then Tete marking his debut with a goal in first-half stoppage time after Villa carelessly conceded possession again.

Leicester wrapped up their first league win since November in the 79th minute when Dennis Praet latched on to a Harvey Barnes through ball.

Victory lifted Leicester to 21 points, three points above the bottom three, while Villa remain in 11th place with 28.

"We thoroughly deserved to win the game, were dangerous going forwards and it was an outstanding result," Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said.

"Our four goals were fantastic, we were very creative and we could have had five or six."

When Leicester beat West Ham United just before the World Cup it appeared their early-season problems were behind them. But they have slumped since the restart of the Premier League with one point from a possible 15.

Pressure was mounting on Rodgers, but his team responded impressively on Saturday - although it was a mixed day for their two debutants.

Villa went ahead in the ninth minute when Emiliano Buendia's dipping shot struck the underside of the crossbar and Watkins was alert to volley in the rebound.

But three minutes later the hosts self-destructed when Boubacar Kamara lost possession and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall played the ball to Maddison to finish on his first start since that win over West Ham -- a game in which he injured his knee.

Villa got their noses back in front when Watkins crossed low across the face of goal and Leicester's Souttar, signed from Stoke City on Tuesday, inadvertently put into his own goal.

Leicester hit back when Harvey Barnes played a dangerous ball into the area for Iheanacho to head home.

Kamara was at fault again in first-half stoppage time as he was robbed deep in his own half and Iheanacho played in Tete to go around Martinez to score.

Philippe Coutinho had a goal disallowed for offside as Villa pressed for an equaliser, but Leicester gave themselves a safety cushion when Praet was released by Barnes to score.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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