Lingard double sees off battling Leicester as West Ham press top four claims

Date published: Sunday 11th April 2021 4:08 - Neil Foster

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Two first-half goal from in-form Jesse Lingard sent West Ham on the way to a 3-2 victory over Leicester and propelled them back into the top four.

The on-loan forward bagged on 29 and 44 minutes to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. Jarrod Bowen added another just three minutes after the interval. And the East End outfit show no signs of going away in the race for a Champions League spot.

Kelechi Iheanacho pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go and added another in injury time. But David Moyes’ side held on.

The visitors more than held their own early on but everything changed just before the half-hour mark. Arthur Masuaku raced free down the flank and whipped in a dangerous-looking cross that eventually found Vladimir Coufal.

He fed Lingard on the edge of the box who found the net from an acute angle with a sumptuous volley. Leicester responded but fell two behind one minute before the break.

Issa Diop’s clearance found Bowen who slid the ball across the area for Lingard to tap home. The hosts were good value for their half-time lead but Leicester would have felt they were still in the contest

Early strike seals Foxes fate

That all changed on 48 minutes as Bowen added a third. Iheanacho lost possession and Lingard was able to run at the Foxes defence before finding Soucek in the box.

The Czech star’s deft pass found its way to Bowen who put the finishing touch on a superb move.

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West Ham had the ball in the net for a fourth time on 54 minutes. Diop headed home after a quick free-kick but VAR chalked it off after the defender was adjudged to be offside.

Leicester continued to attack and had two penalty appeals in the space of 60 seconds. However, VAR ruled against the East Midlanders on both occasions.

But Brendan Rodgers’ men did get on the score sheet as Iheanacho pulled one back on 70 minutes. And it was a mistake by Masuaku that led to the goal.

He passed the ball straight to the Leicester forward and Iheanacho who wasted no time in lashing home from 22 yards.

The Foxes sensed they could get something from the game and kept pressing as the half wore on. Youri Tielemans and Ricardo Pereira combined well with 10 minutes to go. But Fabianski held firm to keep them at bay.

Mark Noble was replaced at the death after taking a knock in what was his 400th Premier League appearance.

Iheanacho ensured it was a nervy last few minutes for the hosts with a stoppage-time strike. The Hammers failed to deal with Marc Albrighton’s low cross and he bagged his second from close range.

Leicester’s fighting quality showed just why they are so high in the standings but it was the hosts who came away with the spoils.

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