Derby County 0:2 Leicester City
Sven Goran Eriksson’s side took another stride towards the play-offs on Saturday evening, with a comfortable 2-0 win over Derby at Pride Park…
There were two changes to the side for this televised local derby, with Ricardo making his debut in goal in place of Weale, and Oakley in for Abe in midfield.
Struggling Derby kept things very tight in the opening spell, allowing City possession but no real chances until Van Aarnholt’s cross was blocked by Addison, who collided with a post.
City’s dominance appeared to have borne fruit in the 22nd minute when Vassell found the top corner, but a linesman’s flag halted the celebrations.
However, six minutes later City took the lead their performance deserved thanks to a bit of magic from Yakubu. The Rams failed to clear their lines properly and Gallagher teed up the Nigerian 12 yards out. Although Yakubu was well marked he juggled the ball twice before lashing a drive into the roof of the net for a spectacular opener.
A minute later Gallagher went close with a long range effort after more good work from Van Aanholt down the left.
Seconds before half-time City doubled their lead with a sublime passing move that swept from one end to the other in seconds. Mee to Yakubu to Van Aanholt to Gallagher who fed King perfectly to slide the ball past the advancing Bywater and into the net.
The half time whistle signalled boos from a home crowd who had seen their team outplayed.
The Rams improved after the break, City had a bit of defending to do and Ricardo actuially touched the ball, punching clear. In the 66th minute Bamba and Mee clashed heads, requiring lengthy treatment, but happily both were able to stay on the field.
City were content to defend their two goal lead in a professional manner and Derby did not have the guile to get round them. There were few chances for the Rams, Byford heading over late on.
The final whistle saw City fans celebrating a fine win over their neighbours, and six points from Derby this season.
A jubilant Sven commented: “I am happy for two reasons. In the first half we played good football, we moved the ball around nicely and scored two very nice goals. Second half they didn’t allow us to play, our full-backs couldn’t come out with the ball so it was more of a battle. They became much more direct and hit a lot of long balls and I think we stood up to that very well so I am very happy about that. The team is getting better and better, more and more confident. so I hope we can go on like this but you never know because every game is a battle.”
Referee: C Webster (Tyne & Wear). Attendance: 26,142.