Southampton hosted Leicester City who are fighting to finish in the top four. Their visitors were expected to give them a tough fight and Leicester’s work was made easier when Jannik Vestergaard was given a red card in the 10th minute of the first half.
Coach Ralph Hasenhuttl described Vestergaard’s red card as a “simply wrong” decision that was avoidable and unnecessary.
Vestergaard got in the bad books of the center referee, Jon Moss, in the 10th minute of the match. He got a pass from his teammate, Stuart Armstrong but failed to keep it in possession. Hence, Leicester City’s striker, Jamie Vardy picked it up, and in an attempt to fight back for the ball, Vestergaard fouled on Vardy.
Immediately Vardy fell to the ground, the center referee showed Vestergaard a straight red card because he was the last man in Southampton defense and Vardy was goalbound.
The Video Assistant Referee did not give an otherwise review of referee Jon Moss’s decision, hence the decision stood.
Despite being a man down, Ralph Hasenhuttl was able to set up his team in such a way that Leicester City were not able to do much. Interestingly, Southampton got the first goal through a spot-kick executed by James Ward-Prowse in the 61st minute.
Unfortunately for the home team, it took Leicester City less than 5 minutes to get back into the game, courtesy of Jonny Evans’ 68th-minute strike.
After the game which ended in a 1-1 draw, Ralph Hasenhuttl said the official explanation he got for Vestergaard’s red card was that he denied Vardy “a clear goalscoring opportunity “.
“The goalkeeper was near the ball, he could pick it up. I think he [Vardy] would never get this ball. This explanation is simply wrong”, Hasenhuttl added.
“I thought it was [going to be] a penalty and then it would be even more difficult, but when you see the red card then you see that it was absolutely the wrong decision and we deserved to get something today.
“Jon Moss has seen it, the VAR, and he says it’s a red card, although Vardy never had the ball. The denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity is an argument that I cannot agree [with].
“I am not delighted with the red card decision but very delighted with the performance from my fighting side.”
As Ralph Hasenhuttl laments over Vestergaard’s red, Brendan Rodgers laments over the missed opportunity
Brendan Rodgers and his boys were expected to take advantage of the fact that they played against Southampton for over 80 minutes with a man down. Unfortunately for the team that is battling for a Champions League spot, the best they could get was a point.
If Leicester City had won the game, they would have had 65 points in 34 games but the draw left them with 63 points which are enough to guarantee them Champions League football yet. They are 5 points above 4th placed Chelsea who still have a game in hand. 5th placed West United and 6th placed Liverpool are also pushing for a spot in the top four.
Rodgers said: “We didn’t do enough to win the game. Normally in this type of game, we are very good, but we didn’t pick up the tempo of the game until we went behind. Give credit to Southampton, they defended deep and compact with 10 men and made it difficult for us. But we’re disappointed.
“The sending off was an advance to us but the game was too slow, and the speed of our game was not quite at the tempo you would want to shift the ball about. We arrived in some really good positions but didn’t quite have that precision or timing on that final pass. It’s disappointing, we always want to win and have shown this season we are a team that will do everything we can to win, but it just wasn’t quite enough.”