Leicester City powered to the top of the Championship as Jamie Vardy scored after 21 seconds to inspire a 4-1 rout of promotion rivals Southampton on Friday.
Vardy stunned Southampton as he opened the scoring at St Mary’s with his first league goal this season inside the first minute.
In a battle of two teams expected to slug it out for a quick return to the Premier League after both were relegated last term, Kasey McAteer doubled Leicester’s lead before Sam Edozie got one back for Southampton.
Wilfred Ndidi restored Leicester’s two-goal advantage in first-half stoppage-time and Stephy Mavididi completed the demolition after the interval.
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With five wins from six league games, Leicester sit two points clear of second-placed Preston, who can reclaim top spot with a win against Plymouth on Saturday.
It was another bitter blow for seventh-placed Southampton, who were beaten for a second successive game after their 5-0 thrashing at Sunderland.
Former England striker Vardy set the tone in his first start since the opening day of the campaign, pouncing in trademark style to convert Mavididi’s pass.
In the 18th minute, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall fed McAteer, who controlled and finished past Gavin Bazunu in style.
Che Adams threaded a through ball to Edozie, who calmly clipped in the second goal of his career in the 25th minute to give Southampton hope.
But three minutes into stoppage time, Mavididi’s vision picked out Ndidi, who prodded in his first league goal since January 2021.
Southampton were booed off at half-time and former Montpellier winger Mavididi compounded the hosts’ misery with a clinical finish in the 67th minute.
Kamaldeen Sulemana capped a wretched evening for Southampton when the winger was shown a straight red card for jumping in on James Justin deep into added time.