Leicester City 1:0 Sheffield United
A Jamie Vardy header in the 66th minute ended Sheffield United’s resistance at the King Power Stadium on Friday night, as City progressed to the FA Cup quarter-final stage…
Claude Puel sent out something close to a full-strength side for this tie, with Morgan restored to the heart of the defence after an eight game absence.
Riyad Mahrez’s first home appearance since he went AWOL saw mostly cheers, with the odd bit of booing.
United looked well-drilled at the back and let City have plenty of early possession, but there were few chances created.
Vardy had a shot blocked and Gray sent an effort well high and wide, before the first proper chance came in the 16th minute. Gray went on a good run down the middle before slipping a ball left to Vardy, who sent a low shot a foot wide of the far post.
Chilwell then cut in from the left and set up Ndidi for a long range shot that was too close to Blackman to trouble him.
United came more into the game and had a chance of their own. A cross from the right was headed out by Simpson, but deflected off Maguire and sat up nicely for Stevens to shoot from 8 yards out, but Maguire managed to throw himself in the way and block the effort brilliantly.
At the other end Mahrez prodded a ball through for Vardy to run onto but the impressive Blackman swiftly narrowed to angled to save.
Half-time arrived without City finding a way through United’s defence, and the Blades only chance had been the closest call.
The low-key end to the first half continued after the break, with United enjoying more possession, but little going on at either end. A neat turn from Gray sent Mahrez in but his shot was blocked.
But City eventually found a way through in the 66th minute and it was Mahrez who created the chance out of virtually nothing with the pass of the game.
Faced with two defenders down the right he checked back, had a look up, and spotted Vardy, lurking with intent at the far post. He delivered a perfect ball for Vardy to send a looping header over Blackman and into the net.
Gray went close with a low shot, but Blackman got a touch to send it round the post, before Baldock’s low side-footed shot saw Schmeichel get down smartly to save.
Moments later a Chilwell cross was nodded back by Mahrez for Vardy to net, but the celebrations were halted by an offside flag.
In the 84th minute Claude Puel brought Albrighton on for Vardy, looking to close the game out, and there were no moments of drama in the final stages.
City had reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012, and were 90 minutes away from a Wembley appearance.
Puel commented on the architect of City’s goal: “The most important thing in the game was the fans supported Riyad, and when I replaced him it was a good feeling with the fans. It’s important to stay united about this. The situation is behind us, it’s important to look forward. Now we have two home games in the Premier League and it’s important to get the support of the fans.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Gray, Iborra, Ndidi, Mahrez (James 90), Iheanacho, Vardy (Albrighton 84).
Substitutes: Hamer, Silva, Dragovic, Fuchs, Diabaté.
Sheff Utd: Blackman, Basham, Wright (Evans 76), O’Connell, Baldock, Carruthers (Duffy 76), Lundstram, Lafferty, Stevens, Donaldson, Wilson (Brooks 45)
Substitutes: Sharp, Stearman, Heneghan, Eastwood.
Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 28,336.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
We are producing a Limited Edition (75) print of the FiftySomething strip from The FOX Summer Special 2016 – celebrating City’s Premier League title win.
The A3 sized print will be available from next Thursday (25th Jan) , but you can pre-order one now.
They will be posted to you rolled in a cardboard tube.
The prints cost £6.50 and post & packing is £3.45. (UK only)
You can pay online via Paypal HERE