Mahrez hat-trick sends Leicester top of Premier League
Riyad Mahrez's hat-trick inspired Leicester City to a 3-0 victory over struggling Swansea City that sends them back to the top of the Premier League table, though Jamie Vardy's record-breaking scoring run came to an end.
After netting in an 11th straight top-flight game against Manchester United last Saturday, Vardy had his sights set on matching Jimmy Dunne's all-time Football League record of scoring in 12 consecutive matches.
While he was unsuccessful in his bid for more individual glory, Vardy had a hand in all three goals as Mahrez stole the show at the Liberty Stadium.
Mahrez broke the deadlock inside five minutes, inadvertently turning home a corner earned by Vardy that Swansea were unable to clear at the near post.
The winger's second was more aesthetically pleasing as he slotted home following excellent combination play between Vardy and N'Golo Kante, though he apperared to receive the latter's pass from an offside position.
And, after an improved start to the second half from the hosts, Mahrez completed his treble by capitalising on more fine build-up work from Kante and Vardy by firing in from 12 yards.
The win sends Leicester two points clear at the top and heaps more pressure on under-fire Swansea manager Garry Monk, whose side are four points above the bottom three.
Vardy's pressure on centre-back Ashley Williams won Leicester an early corner which Marc Albrighton whipped in and Mahrez, pouncing on Swansea's indecision, deflected home.
Williams was struggling and his inability to cope with a Leonardo Ulloa through ball allowed Vardy to advance towards Lukasz Fabianski, but the goalkeeper saved to prevent the 28-year-old from doubling the lead in the 17th minute.
Fabianski could do nothing to prevent Mahrez from doubling his tally five minutes later, however.
Mahrez was a yard behind left-back Neil Taylor but the linesman's flag stayed down and he latched on to Kante's cross-field ball to beat Fabianski with a composed finish into the bottom-left corner.
Only another strong Fabianski stop prevented the Algeria international from completing his hat-trick following more good work from Ulloa.
Ulloa - introduced for Shinji Okazaki in Claudio Ranieri's only change - failed to capitalise on another Williams error, curling wide of the far post in the 39th minute after Mahrez had beaten the Swansea captain to the ball on the halfway line.
Monk replaced Wayne Routledge with Jefferson Montero at half-time and only the crossbar stopped Swansea from getting back into the game when Ki Sung-yueng's header from a Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick clattered against the woodwork.
But the game was put beyond doubt when Mahrez netted his third, the 24-year-old again the beneficiary of a surging run from Kante and Vardy's excellent turn and pass.
Vardy spurned two late chances - responding to the Swansea fans with a gesture to remind them of the scoreline after his second miss - before Sigurdsson hit the post at the other end on another frustrating day for Monk.
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