Leicester City 3:2 Aston Villa
City retained their unbeaten record and jumped back up to second place after storming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Villa at the KPS on Sunday…
Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his side, with Inler making his full debut and Okazaki regaining his starting place, with Kanté and King making way.
City’s whirlwind start saw Okazaki’s shot blocked before Drinkwater sent a long-range effort narrowly over the bar. But it was Villa who should have taken an early lead when Agbonlahor burst down the left and then tried to set up Sinclair at the far post, but he arrived a fraction of a second late and only found the side-netting from point blank range.
Morgan then got his head to an Albrighton free-kick, but cleared the bar, before Mahrez curled an effort that didn’t test Guzan.
At the other end Schmeichel also made a comfortable save as Grealish failed to get any venom into his shot when well placed.
He had better luck with his next effort six minutes before the break. After City failed to clear from a corner the ball sat up for Grealish who lashed it past Schmeichel to give Villa the lead.
Despite a moment of magic from Mahrez when three Villa defenders fell under his spell and hit the floor at the same time City couldn’t make an impression on a solid Villa defence and were trailing by a goal at the break.
Deadline-day signing Dyer replaced Okazaki for the second half and Mahrez moved to the centre, taking on the Villa defence at every opportunity, but sometimes hanging on to the ball for too long.
City pressed forward constantly: the quick-thinking Vardy sent a back-heel inches wide of the near post and then Mahrez’s mazy run through the visitors’ defence was halted by a Lescott clearance.
But it was Villa who extended their lead hitting City on the break in the 63rd minute. Agbonlahor charged down the left and crossed for Gil who beat Schmeichel with a perfect curling shot from the edge of the area.
Ranieri acted immediately, bringing Kante and Ulloa on for Inler and Albrighton, in what turned out to be an inspired change.
Ulloa’s first touch saw him head a Drinkwater cross narrowly wide and City gained a fresh momentum and Kante broke up Villa’s play.
City’s comback began with 17 minutes left on the clock. De Laet got his head to a Mahrez corner and it was a foot over the line when Westwood headed it out. The linesman signalled a goal and it was game on.
After wave after wave of attacking football City netted an equaliser with eight minutes to go.
A fantastic run from Drinkwater, combining with Mahrez, was capped with a low, hard cross which Vardy slid in to level the game.
City weren’t content with a point and continued to press forward, gaining their reward in the 89th minute.
Mahrez played a ball down the middle and Dyer pursued it with no thought for his own safety, launching himself despite the considerable form of Guzan coming out to meet him fast.
He just got his head to the ball to nudge it home before a collision that left him flat out.
After a moment’s concern for his safety, and also concern that the erratic Mike Dean might find reason to rule it out, the goal was confirmed and the City fans were celebrating a famous victory, thanks to the bravery of the debutante.
The three points moved City up to second place and broke the club record for unbeaten games in the Premier League.
Claudio Ranieri summed up: “At 2-0 I look at my players and they still believe it is possible. That is the spirit I love. The players believed in something good as a group and that is what I want.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Huth, Morgan, Schlupp, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Inler (Kanté 64), Albrighton (Ulloa 64), Okazaki (Dyer 46), Vardy. Subs Not Used: King, Simpson, Kramarić, Schwarzer.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Richards, Bacuna (Hutton 86), Sinclair, Agbonlahor (Gestede 74), Westwood, Lescott, Amavi, Sánchez, Gil (Ayew 65), Grealish. Subs Not Used: Clark, Veretout, Richardson, Bunn.
Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 31, 733.
ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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