Leicester City 0-1 Newcastle United
Ayoze Perez scored the only goal of the game as Newcastle took a big step towards Premier League survival with a 1-0 win at Leicester.
The visitors came into the game at The King Power Stadium having not won away from home in 2019, while in-form Leicester were on a four-match winning run.
However, the game went against the form guide as Perez’s header just after the half-hour mark proved to be enough as Newcastle defended impressively throughout the remainder of the game and even had chances to extend their lead.
The win takes them up to 13th position on 38 points – 10 clear of the relegation places – and virtually safe, while Leicester’s winless run when playing on a Friday continues and they stay in seventh on 47 points.
Harry Maguire returned in place of Caglar Soyuncu at centre-back in one change to the Leicester side from last weekend's 4-1 win at Huddersfield.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez opted to make two changes to the side which lost 1-0 against Crystal Palace last Saturday as Javier Manquillo and Paul Dummett came in for DeAndre Yedlin and the injured Florian Lejeune.
Leicester enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening exchanges but it was Newcastle who almost drew first blood on 15 minutes when Perez was tripped just outside the area and Salomon Rondon curled a superb 30-yard free-kick over the wall and off the crossbar with Kasper Schmeichel beaten.
The hosts responded on 22 minutes with Ben Chilwell picking up a James Maddison’s lay-off on the left side of the area before drilling in a low angled right-foot strike which Martin Dubravka managed to push clear.
The game continued to open up more and Newcastle profited from it by taking the lead in the 32nd minute when Matt Ritchie picked up possession down the left and whipped in a wonderful cross which Perez met at the front post and flicked his header into the far corner of the net.
Miguel Almiron went in search of his first goal for Newcastle on 35 minutes but his first-time effort was well held by Schmeichel down at his near post.
Newcastle enjoyed a bright start to the second half with Almiron played in down the left side of the penalty area by Ritchie, but his pull-back was cut out by Wes Morgan before it could reach the middle of the box.
On 53 minutes, Perez made a mess of trying to connect to a Rondon cross from the left and, as a result, also denied Almiron a chance to score as he was better placed just behind him.
Leicester’s first effort of note after the break came in the 62nd minute when Maddison exchanged passes with Harvey Barnes down the left and put in a cross which was inches too high for Jamie Vardy.
The hosts continued to press, but they struggled to break down a resolute Newcastle backline and it was the visitors who again went close on 76 minutes.
Perez brought down Rondon’s cross on the right side of the area and used his trickery to get past Chilwell, only for Schmeichel to race out and thwart him with a block at his near post.
Leicester’s best chance of the half came in the 80th minute when Youri Tielemans put an inch-perfect pass into the box for Vardy to run on to, but the forward could only lift the ball over both the advancing Dubravka and the crossbar.
The home fans were shouting for a penalty in the 90th minute when Manquillo appeared to have a slight tug on Tielemans as he charged into the area, but the referee Chris Kavanagh waved away the appeals.
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.