Sheffield Wednesday 0:2 Leicester City
Leicester strolled to a comfortable win over The Owls at Hillsborough without ever looking in danger of relinquishing the lead.
Nigel Pearson surprised the huge City travelling support before the game by leaving out Knockaert in favour of Marshall who himself had a loan spell at Hillsborough last season before coming to Leicester. Other than that Vardy replaced the injured Nugent but the core of the side was unchanged from last week’s mauling of Ipswich.
It was a tense start to the game with neither side showing any signs of breaking through as the match was played out largely in midfield. City were enjoying the lion’s share of possession and were controlling the game but weren’t really hurting Wednesday. Bothroyd saw a shot deflected wide for the hosts and Marshall drew a straightforward save from Kirkland before City unlocked the hosts’ defence on 40 minutes. Marshall and Drinkwater exchanged passes on the right side of the penalty area which released Drinkwater in to space and he lashed a low shot across Kirkland in to the corner and City had a lead that they just about deserved for their possession and control.
This knocked the stuffing out of the hosts and they failed to come back at City as the first half closed, the only scare was when Kasper Schmeichel’s ‘air punch’ allowed the ball to drop behind him towards an unguarded net but King was on hand to clear the danger.
The second half started with City in control and Wednesday showing all the signs of a team lacking in confidence. City created a series of chances with Marshall drawing a decent save, low down, from Kirkland and then the same player missed a free header from a corner when it looked easier to score. Moments later Waghorn saw his shot tipped over and it was only a matter of time before the lead was doubled. The second goal when it came on 76 minutes was a signature goal from Ben Marshall. He took a pass from Waghorn on the right and cut inside before placing a superb shot past Kirkland high in to the net. His celebration was muted which itself drew applause from the home fans.
A third goal wouldn’t have flattered City and the industrious Waghorn almost obliged when he hit the bar after being teed up by De Laet. Nigel Pearson then replaced Marshall who received an incredible ovation from the Wednesday faithful (those that were still in the ground that is!) and Knockaert had the final 10 minutes to treat us to a cameo of tricks and flicks as he tormented Wednesday’s weary defenders and delighted the travelling support which numbered close to 4,000.
This was a straightforward win for City against a poor Wednesday side but that shouldn’t detract from how well City kept the ball and controlled the game, particularly during the second half when Schmeichel was a spectator.
Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Taylor, Gardner, Helan, Johnson, Semedo, McCabe (Lines 66), Antonio, Bothroyd (Madine 69), Sidibe (Rodri 75). Unused Subs: Bywater, Pecnik, Major, Jones.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Whitbread, Schlupp, Marshall (Knockaert 81), Drinkwater, King, Dyer, Vardy (Futacs 77), Waghorn (Lingard 86). Unused Subs: Logan, Konchesky, James, Moore, Lingard.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire). Attendance: 24,664 (3,803 away).
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