Leicester City 1:0 FC Porto
Leicester became the first English club to win their first two Champions League games on Tuesday night, with a 1-0 win against Porto thanks to a 26th minute Islam Slimani header…
The City fans headed to what was known for the night as ‘Leicester City Stadium’ under an appropriately dramatic sunset, as the club hosted its first ever Champions League game against the twice-European champions from Portugal.
The side that lined up for the Champions League anthem saw two changes to the the starting XI at Old Trafford, with Schmeichel returning from injury and Hernández in for Simpson.
There was an early scare for City in the 3rd minute when Torres lobbed a ball forward to send Silva through and, although he beat the advancing Schmeichel to the ball, his first time effort towards an empty goal went wide.
However, City soon got a grip on proceedings and a spell of pressure followed with long throws from both Fuchs and Hernández, and a Mahrez corner testing the Porto defence.
Slimani then got a back header to an Albrighton freekick, but Casillas was well placed to save.
There followed a fractious period in which the ref went card happy. Silva and Otavio were booked for protesting a free-kick and then Vardy saw yellow for pushing Otavio in the wall, though hardly enough for him to fall flat on his face as he did.
After all the preamble Mahrez then sent his freekick straight into the wall.
But two minutes later City took the lead. Albrighton sent Mahrez in on the right with a fine pass, and Porto didn’t have time to assign the usual three men to him. Mahrez’s cross eluded Vardy’s head at the near post, but Slimani stooped ahead of Felipe to head past Casillas from close in to the delight of the home crowd.
City enjoyed another strong attacking spell, with Vardy flashing a cross over that was just too far ahead of Mahrez.
Slimani was then booked for a clumsy challenge and Porto appeared to change tactics at this point, throwing themselves to the ground whenever possible to break up play and try and induce more cards from the ref.
Porto’s best chance of the half came in the 36th minute when Layun curled a 25 yard freekick two inches wide of the left hand post.
Layun then hit the deck in an attempt to earn Slimani a second yellow, but thankfully the ref didn’t oblige.
Turkish referee Cakir then whistled a halt to the first half as Porto were about to take a corner and was surrounded by angry yellow shirts all the way to the tunnel.
Porto were rattled.
City started the second half well, putting pressure on Casillas, and Danilo picked up the first booking after the break for a high kick that caught Slimani in the face.
A weak headed clearance from Morgan led to a Huth foul but Tells freekick sailed into the Family Stand.
A long-range Mahrez effort was tipped round the post by Casillas and then Mahrez and Drinkwater had fierce efforts blocked.
As the half wore on City began to look a bit heavy-legged as Porto began to perform and the lead suddenly looked very slender. Substitute Jota fired a shot straight at Schmeichel while Filpe sent a header over. Schmeichel then got down well to a Herrera half-volley from outside the area as the pressure increased.
City were opened up by a Corona ball to Silva but his first touch deserted him at the vital moment.
With five minutes remaining there was another big let off for City when Corona met a Huth clearance on the volley but his shot took a slight deflection off Albrighton and smashed against the right hand post.
King, Gray and Musa replaced Slimani, Mahrez and Gray in separate substitutions to introduce fresh legs and eat up time, but there were still a few nervy moments around City’s goal with Huth especially putting in an immense display as Porto kept knocking on the door to the end.
The final whistle was a huge relief and saw City top of Group G with maximum points from the first two games.
Claudio Ranieri commented on an unforgettable and historic night: “We showed a very good attitude, character and personality during all of the match. Also during the last minutes when Porto tried to equalise, we were very calm, very attentive and closed all of the space. I am very happy. It’s the first Champions League match after 132 years for Leicester. Our fans gave us a lot of energy. It’s fantastic. All the matches they push behind us.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Hernández, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Amartey, Mahrez (Gray 88), Albrighton, Slimani (King 82), Vardy (Musa 90). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Simpson, Schlupp, Okazaki.
Porto: Casillas, Marcano, Silva, Lopez (Jota 63), Telles, Andre (Herrera 63), Layun, Danilo, Otavio, Felipe, Torres (Corona 77). Subs Not Used: Sa, Boly, Neves, Deportee.
Referee: C Cakir. Attendance: 31,805.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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