Konsa double earns Villa 2-1 win over Leicester in EPL
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Ezri Konsa scored twice as Aston Villa rallied to beat Leicester 2-1 in the Premier League on Sunday and continue its revival under Steven Gerrard.
The defender's first goals in 13 months - in front of watching England coach Gareth Southgate - came after Harvey Barnes opened the scoring in the 14th minute.
Villa has won three of Gerrard's four games in charge since he replaced Dean Smith last month and has climbed to 10th place in the league, above Leicester.
Jacob Ramsey was denied a first-half goal by VAR, a decision which inspired Villa to a fine second-half display that ultimately sealed the game.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers gambled and started Jamie Vardy on the bench, citing squad rotation, and his replacement Patson Daka made an early impact when he teed up Barnes for his goal.
The Zambia international bustled his way past a couple of Villa challenges before finding Barnes on the left and the winger showed great composure to stroke the ball into the bottom corner.
Leicester's soft center at set pieces returned three minutes later when Villa equalized.
Jonny Evans failed to clear Douglas Luiz's free kick and Matty Cash headed the ball back into the danger area. Emi Buendia nodded it goalward and the stretching Konsa got the finest of touches before it dropped into the corner.
Leicester's Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall headed Luke Thomas' cross wide and Kasper Schmeichel stuck out a leg to deny Cash before Emi Martinez claimed James Maddison's low strike after more neat work from Daka.
Villa then thought it had turned the game on the stroke of halftime, only to be denied by VAR.
Cash headed back Douglas Luiz's cross which Schmeichel attempted to claim before Ramsey smashed in from close range.
Leicester was adamant Schmeichel had control of the ball as he stretched out to put one hand on top of it before the midfielder lashed it into the net. VAR asked Michael Oliver to look at it as he deemed the ball under Schmeichel's control - a call Oliver agreed with so he disallowed the goal.
It incensed the Villa fans and the aggrieved hosts came out for the second half with renewed purpose.
Ashley Young curled well wide four minutes after the break and Thomas made a crucial block from Ollie Watkins, only for Villa to grab the winner from the resulting corner. John McGinn's deep delivery found Konsa towering over Caglar Soyuncu and he squeezed a header between Schmeichel and the post.
It was the 10th set-piece goal the Foxes had conceded this season and the issue now threatens to hold Rodgers' side back.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated December 5, 2021