LONDON (Reuters) – Leicester City beat West Ham United 2-0 with goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes on Saturday to complete a hat-trick of away wins in the Premier League, though Maddison gave England fans a brief scare when he went off for treatment.
Leicester, who lost their first five away games this season, needed just eight minutes to take the lead when a counter-attacking move finished with an unmarked Maddison firing his shot into the roof of the net at the far post.
Leicester’s joy quickly turned to England’s concern as Maddison — who made the World Cup squad two days ago — went down clutching his leg and was immediately substituted, with the 25-year-old walking straight down the tunnel for treatment.
But Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers allayed any fears that the midfielder could miss the tournament in Qatar that kicks off on Nov. 20, with England set to play Iran in their group opener a day later.
“He’s fine. It was just precautionary, a little soreness on the side of the knee. He hasn’t trained a lot this week. He’s okay,” Rodgers said.
The result moved Leicester up to 12th in the standings going into the mid-season break while West Ham fell to 16th place, one point above the relegation zone.
West Ham’s afternoon nearly went from bad to worse after Craig Dawson’s last-ditch tackle brought down Patson Daka in the box, with the referee awarding a penalty after a VAR check, but goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski saved Youri Tielemans’s spot kick.
The home side pressed and probed for an equaliser in the second half as Declan Rice set the tempo and pulled strings from midfield while Leicester were shoddy in possession, forcing Rodgers to make a triple change.
The decision paid off six minutes later as substitute Ayoze Perez released Barnes with a sublime through-ball on another Leicester counter-attack and the English winger finished with a first-time effort to beat Fabianski.
West Ham fans began leaving in droves after the second goal while many of those who stayed behind booed David Moyes’s side at the final whistle as they fell to a third straight league defeat.
“People are right because they are used to being sixth or seventh; this time last year we were challenging for the Champions League,” Moyes told reporters.
“I thought the lads ran a thousand miles today. They are low because they are desperate to win, they’re not used to this. We are all just taking stock of it at the minute.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru;Editing by Christian Radnedge and Clare Fallon)