Souttar stars as struggling Leicester secure EPL point

·3-min read

Harry Souttar has made his first start in a month for Leicester City and helped to earn the relegation-haunted Foxes what could prove a vital point.

The Socceroos defender was named man of the match for his part in a rearguard action that gained a point at Newcastle United - who thus confirmed their own qualification for the Champions League on Monday night.

The 0-0 draw, for a first clean sheet in 22 matches, hauled Leicester above Leeds United, but they are still in the bottom three with one match remaining.

Everton, in the last place of safety, have 33 points and a -24 goal difference, ahead of Leicester (31 and -18) and Leeds (31 and -27). Southampton have already been relegated.

On Sunday all three teams are at home; Everton host Bournemouth, Leeds face Tottenham and Leicester welcome West Ham.

Souttar last played in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on April 15. Since then City had played five matches picking up five points and conceding 12 goals, eight of them in the last two matches.

Manager Dean Smith's response was to switch to a back five drafting in the giant Australian defender alongside Jonny Evans and Wout Faes.

In reality it was a back nine and the lone striker, Jamie Vardy, wasn't very advanced as Leicester dug in for a point at St James' Park.

"We'll take a point, it is a really tough place to come. We knew we had to stay in the game and we would get a chance near the end. That's what happened and it was a great save from the keeper," Souttar told Sky Sports.

"We rode our luck at times, they had a few chances, but we'll take it.

"I hadn't played for a few weeks and I was delighted to be in the starting eleven. I thought the defensive block worked well and we frustrated them. We kept them relatively quiet and could have nicked it."

Souttar, heading crosses away and blocking shots, was at the thick of it, but the visitors were fortunate to reach halftime with parity.

Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron had both hit the post and Wilson had a header cleared off the line by Wilfried Ndidi.

However, Bruno Guimaraes could easily have been dismissed after ten minutes for a high challenge on Boubakary Soumare.

Brazilian Guimaraes became the third player to hit the woodwork with 20 minutes left.

That was Newcastle's 20th shot, Leicester were yet to have one.

Emerging from their stockade they finally did so in the 93rd minute - and it nearly snatched them a vital victory, with Timothy Castagne smashing a volley from James Maddison's cross that Nick Pope managed to parry away.

Smith's gameplan had almost worked perfectly but now Leicester need to win their last match and rely on Everton not doing so.

"I know it's cliche, but we just have to focus on ourselves. That's all we can do and let the rest take care of itself," Souttar said.

"We're going feeling positive. We've picked up a result and a clean sheet, which, let's be fair, we haven't had enough of this season.

"We go (back home to face West Ham) there with a positive mindset for the three points and whatever happens, happens."