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Early Iheanacho goal sees Leicester hurdle Brentford into the 5th round

Brentford 0:1 Leicester City

1920 brentford away fac

A third minute goal from Kelechi Iheanacho was enough to win this cup tie, but Brentford pushed City all the way at Griffin Park on Saturday…

This was an emotional afternoon in west London with Brentford set to leave their home of 116 years for a new stadium a mile upstream of the Thames, and it turned out to be Griffin Park’s final FA Cup tie.
But sentimentality made way for practicality with both managers making wholesale changes to their sides, Brentford facing a crunch promotion clash with Forest on the same night that City travel to Villa with a League Cup final place at stake.
While City didn’t have to face the Bees’ prolific B-M-W forward line, only Söyüncü and Pérez retained their places.
The watching nation on BBC1 may have feared that Brentford’s second string might be overwhelmed early on. After just twenty seconds a clearance ricocheted to Iheanacho who sent Pérez in on goal. He rounded Daniels but a last ditch challenge from Racic denied him the opening goal.
That came in the fourth minute. A stunning, match-winning fifty yard ball from Praet found Justin down the right and his cross was met at the far post with a composed half-volley from Iheanacho.
City continued to press hard, forcing Brentford into errors. Praet had a shot blocked by Jeanvier and then Gray wasted a free-kick from a good position, firing a shot into the side-netting.
But after a spell in which City looked likely to make it 2-0, Brentford got their act together and carved out a chance. Roerslev beat Fuchs down the right and his cross reached Marcondes, whose shot missed the post by inches and found the side-netting.
The Bees threatened again in the 20th minute when a smart turn and side-step from Dervisoglu gave him room for a shot, but he curled it wide.
It was a more even game now. Albrighton strode forward and fired a low shot narrowly wide of the far post, while Thompson did the same at the other end.
Iheanacho then played Pérez in with a lovely ball but Daniels did well to get a glove to his shot from close range. Albrighton, following up, headed the loose ball over the bar.
Just before half-time Marcondes sent a dipping shot over the bar, and after a shaky start Brentford were still very much in the game.

And it was the home side who took the game to City in the second half.
Dasilva flashed a ball across the goalmouth but no one was on hand to take advantage, and then a dangerous free-kick launched into the area came to nought when Racic fouled Ward.
Then Brentford got too close for comfort in the 62nd minute. Marcondes swung a low ball across goal and it evaded everyone in the area before hitting the right hand post. Fuchs calmly mopped it up before Valencia could pounce.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 68th minute, handing Dewsbury-Hall his debut in place of Iheanacho.
After a spell in which City looked very blunt going forward Rodgers made another change, replacing Gray with Maddison.
With the clock ticking down Brentford would create one more golden chance and it arrived in the 83rd minute. Fuchs ducked under a Marcondes cross to allow it out for a goal kick but Chris Kavanagh pointed to the corner. There was a sense of dread at the injustice as Marcondes’ corner was met on the volley by Racic, but Ward athletically clawed it out from under the bar.
City soaked up some late pressure as the home side began to tire, and they had done just enough to make it into the fifth round draw.  If this was Brentford’s reserves then surely they are in with a good shout for promotion.

Brendan Rodgers, now 32 cup games unbeaten, summed up: “I thought the first 25 minutes we were very good, but we were then loose in our passing. We didn’t have enough precision, with which we could have scored more goals, and then obviously we let Brentford back into the game a little bit more. The attitude in the game was brilliant and we finished with off with good save in the end by Danny Ward. So it was a good win for us and gets us into the next round.”

Brentford: Daniels, Rasmussen, Jeanvier, Racic, Thompson (Henry 77), Yearwood, Mokotjo (Dasilva 45), Marcondes, Valencia, Mbeumo 82), Dervisoglu, Zamburek.
Substitutes: Pinnock, Nørgaard, Gunnarsson, Hammar.
Leicester: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Söyüncü, Fuchs, Choudhury, Praet, Gray (Maddison 78), Pérez, Albrighton, Iheanacho (Dewsbury-Hall 68). 
Substitutes: Schmeichel, Evans, Tielemans, Barnes, Ricardo.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: 12,221.

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Leicester back on track with a 4-1 win against West Ham

Leicester City 4:1 West Ham United

1920 west ham home

Despite losing Vardy and Mendy to injury in the first half, City produced a fine display to thrash West Ham at the KPS on Wednesday evening…

Brendan Rodgers made two changes to his side with Chilwell and Tielemans in for Fuchs and Praet and they immediately looked better than in recent showings with West Ham barely able to get over the halfway line in the first ten minutes.
City had an early chance when Barnes and Vardy combined well in the area but Vardy had to dig his chance out from under his feet and sent his shot straight at Randolph.
West Ham, on 16% possession, had their first chance in the 15th minute when Schmeichel flapped at a corner but Cresswell sent his header over the bar.
City’s managed to make their dominance pay in the 24th minute. Barnes played Ricardo in on the right and his low cross-cum-shot was diverted home by Barnes from a yard out. There were subdued celebrations with the players looking at the linesman but, after a wait, VAR gave us permission to jump up and down. But the moment was gone.
In the 33rd minute Mendy went down with a knee injury and Rodgers had to bring Ndidi into action a little earlier than planned. Just two weeks after knee surgery he was roared onto the field.
West Ham still seemed reluctant to go forward and City passed around them without creating any chances.
Rodgers then had to make a second change two minutes before the break. After a vigorous clearance Vardy went down clutching the back of his thigh and a hush descended on the ground. After trying to carry on he had to admit defeat and was replaced by Iheanacho.
Any concerns where City’s goals would come from now were answered in the third minute of injury time. Barnes cut in from the left and threaded a perfect ball through a crowded area for Ricardo to blast home from 15 yards.

With Antonio and Fornals on for the second half, West Ham looked more like it, and Antonio muscled his way through the defence but sliced a shot wide seconds after the restart.
Then they were given a way back into the game with a penalty in the 47th minute, Ndidi needlessly making contact with Haller as he was making his way out of the area. Schmeichel was booked for protesting and was then beaten from the spot by Noble.
West Ham were back in the game now and a goalmouth scramble saw a back-heel from Antonio blocked by Schmeichel.
A couple of corners then led to Ogbonna heading over from a good position.
But City regained control of the game after a good spell for the visitors. Ricardo set up Pérez for a shot that was beaten away by Randolph. Then Maddison sent a dipping 25-yarder towards the top right hand corner but Randolph denied him with a fine save.
Although West Ham were threatening on the break, City went further ahead in the 81st minute. The lively Iheanacho burst into the area and Ogbonna brought him down as he bore down on goal. Pérez emphatically crashed the spot kick home in a manner that suggested he should get the job full time.
West Ham looked beaten now and Chilwell connected beautifully with a shot forcing another good block from Randolph.
But the West Ham keeper could do nothing about City fourth goal two minutes from time. Pérez played a one-two with Iheanacho in the area before sending a precise shot into the far corner.

Although West Ham had been poor for an hour of this game it felt like Leicester were back and Rodgers was delighted: “I think that the tempo in the team tonight was very, very good. Against Burnley we started to come back a bit but tonight we were outstanding. Dynamic. We were fast in our game, the passing was quick, we looked to dominate the ball and play with that authority. That’s how we’ve been for most of the season, with that personality.”

The news regarding Jamie Vardy was also good, with his injury not thought to be a hamstring issue.
City’s Premier League position was looking good, now for the cups…

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Mendy (Ndidi 34), Pérez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes (Morgan 83), Vardy (Iheanacho 43).
Substitutes: Justin, Gray, Albrighton, Ward.
West Ham: Randolph, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (Antonio 45), Snodgrass (Fornals 45), Rice, Noble, Lanzini, Haller.
Substitutes: Reid, Balbuena, Sánchez, Martin, Ajeti.

Referee: David Coote. Attendance: 31,968.

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Leicester defeated at Turf Moor after Vardy penalty miss

Burnley 2:1 Leicester City

1920 burnley away

Having gone ahead City saw the points slip away at Burnley on Sunday, with Jamie Vardy missing a penalty…

Brendan Rodgers made two changes for this Sunday trip to Turf Moor, with Fuchs and Mendy in for Chilwell and Choudhury. Whether this was simply more squad rotation with the West Ham game on Wednesday, or there was more to it was hinted at in the post-match comments.
City started the game on the front foot and Barnes had a shot on target in the first minute, but it didn’t trouble Pope.
City got in behind the Clarets defence a couple of times but the crosses were blocked, then Vardy got in down the right and squared for Maddison, but he opted to take a touch instead of shooting and the chance was gone.
Pérez then had a goal-bound shot blocked by Tarkowski’s head.
Burnley were defending deep, spiking City’s attacks, but creating very little up front. They looked most dangerous from a couple of corners but Evans dealt with one and Schmeichel was fouled for another.
The game had settled into something of a stalemate when City took a 33rd minute lead.
Praet robbed Cork in the centre circle, taking a bit of ankle as well as the ball, but Anthony Taylor waved play on. Barnes latched onto the loose ball and raced forward, Vardy breaking to the left to take a defender away. Barnes accelerated past Mee and fired a shot home via Pope’s foot. VAR had a look at Praet’s challenge and the goal stood.
City kept possession well leading up to half time and Burnley only threatened from a set-piece that saw a bit of pinball in the area. And the visitors could have gone down the tunnel 2-0 when Maddison whipped a free-kick into the area and Pérez nodded it narrowly over the bar.

City went close again three minutes into the second half when a passing move through Burnley’s defence led to Praet curling a low shot towards the far post, but Pope got down well to tip it away.
At the other end Wood got his head to a Taylor cross but cleared the bar.
It was a more open game now and Maddison attempted a 30 yard effort that flew a couple of yards wide.
But Burnley struck back in the 55th minute. A weak challenge from Pérez led to a corner for the home side. McNeil delivered a corner to the far post where Mee rose highest to nod it down. Schmeichel couldn’t get much contact with it and Wood was in the right place to bundle it home from two yards out.
After four defeats Turf Moor had been very quiet, but the goal turned the volume up as they sensed the chance of a win.
Barnes and Maddison both fired shots straight at Pope, before City were presented with a 67th minute penalty. A smart turn and pass by Vardy sent Barnes in down the left and he was wrestled to the ground by Mee for an obvious spot-kick. But Vardy’s penalty lacked the usual venom and Pope guessed right, making an excellent save. Ricardo fired the loose ball across goal but Barnes couldn’t quite reach it at the far post.
This encouraged the home crowd further.
Rodger made a double change in the 74th minute bringing Iheanacho and Tielemans on for Pérez and Praet.
Maddison had a shot blocked by Mee, who leant over to block with his elbow, for what looked like a blatant penalty but nothing was given.
Iheanacho then sent Vardy through on goal, but Pope blocked his shot with a shoulder.
But it was Burnley who took a 79th minute lead. Taylor whipped in a cross from the left, and an off-balance Evans could only divert the ball towards an unmarked Westwood who lashed the ball home from ten yards.
City pressed forward for the last ten minutes, but couldn’t find a way through a packed Burnley defence. A frustrated Söyüncü lashed a long range effort way over and Evans headed over from a corner, but it was a back-to-back defeats for City.

Brendan Rodgers hinted at the reasons for the absence of Chilwell and Choudhury from the side post-match: “They were just unavailable for the training. We were doing a lot of preparation for this game, they were unable to be there, so we now move on. I had to go with the players that we trusted to come here and get the result. It’s a personal one, that.”
Which raised more questions than answers.

Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Wood (Lennon 90), Rodriguez.
Substitutes: Lowton, Brady, Hart, Pieters, Vydra, Long.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Fuchs, Mendy, Pérez (Iheanacho 74), Praet (Tielemans 74), Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Gray, Albrighton, Ward.

Referee: Anthony Taylor. Attendance: 19,788.

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Saints march past below-par Leicester

Leicester City 1:2 Southampton

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

A Southampton side, unrecognisable from the one that City beat 9-0 eleven weeks ago, earned a 2-1 victory at the KPS on Saturday…

Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side with Choudhury in for the the out-of-form Tielemans.
The Saints looked up for it right from the kick-off pressing hard and forcing City into errors. Their first chance came in the 6th minute when a wayward ball from Barnes set Ings up to beat Söyüncü, for a one-on-one with Schmeichel. The City keeper blocked Ings shot with his legs, and then saved again when Ings collected the rebound and had another go.
Southampton’s intense press almost caught Schmeichel out when Ings charged down a clearance, but the ball rebounded out for a goal kick.
But it was City who took a 15th minute lead. Pérez was fouled in midfield and jumped back to his feet and delivered an instant free-kick down the left. Vardy hared down the wing and delivered a low cross for Praet to tuck away at the far post for his first goal for the club.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

But this lead only lasted four minutes. Long played a ball across the 18 yard line and Armstrong stepped inside Chilwell before firing in a shot that took a big deflection off Maddison’s arm, giving Schmeichel no chance.
Schmeichel was in action again in the 28th minute palming away a dipping long range effort from Hojbjerg.
City had the ball in the net on the half hour, but Vardy who was sent in on goal after Ricardo blocked a clearance was clearly offside. We still had to suffer a delay while VAR stuck its oar in.
Southampton were well on top at this stage, with City’s passing game in tatters, and Ings struck the crossbar twice in a minute just before the break. The first when he connected with a low cross at the near post and the second with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
City, who had given the ball away 60 times in the half, with Chilwell accounting for a third of that figure, made it to half time on level terms.

City didn’t look to have improved early in the second half when Bertrand swung in a free-kick from the touchline, and Schmeichel and Chilwell got in each others way allowing Stephens a tap in at the far post. But he didn’t connect properly and Söyüncü hooked it off the goal line.
City began to get into their stride for a spell and Evans got his head to a Maddison  corner, but McCarthy reacted well to parry the effort.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 58th minute replacing Barnes with Iheanacho.
The visitors corner were celebrating in the 62nd minute when they thought they had a penalty. A misdirected header from Choudhury saw the Saints break upfield and  Söyüncü pushed Long in the back as he shaped to shoot. Lee Mason pointed to the spot and presented Söyüncü with a yellow card. But something was stirring in Stockley Park and, after a long delay, reality was rewound and offside was given.
Five minutes later City had the ball in the net, but after more deliberation it was decided that Iheanacho had been offside when he backheeled the ball home following a free-kick. The linesman had given it and there had been no need for the purple screen of doom.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

Gray came on for Pérez and then Tielemans replaced Praet as City went in search of a winner. But it was Southampton who took an 81st minute lead.
A neat passing move through City’s midfield saw a through ball for Ings who poked the ball through Schmeichel’s legs for what proved to be the winner.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

Two minutes later Southampton broke upfield again, Redmond squared for Ings whose fierce shot was superbly saved by Schmeichel.
With four minutes remaining Tielemans sent Iheanacho in on the right but his shot was blocked by McCarthy.
For a brief moment it looked as though City had rescued a point in the 89th minute, Evans getting a firm header to a Maddison free-kick. But the celebrations from both players and fans were muted and VAR ruled it out for offside.
VAR may have been right, but there was a rising tide of anger at its constant and lengthy interference. Both sets of fans sang “It’s not football anymore”, and after the game Hamza Choudhury said:“I don’t think many players like it. It takes away the emotions. You see Jonny score an equaliser in the 89th minute and he’s scared to celebrate!”

VAR apart, this may have been City’s worst performance under Brendan Rodgers with Southampton working hard to shut down City’s possession game. Rodgers commented: “It’s a sore one today but we’ll go away, they can recover a little bit now, physically and emotionally, and like we’ve always done whenever we’ve had a defeat, we’ll analyse it, look at the details and we’ll look to improve. The clear week will help us.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Söyüncü, Evans, Chilwell, Choudhury, Pérez (Gray 67), Praet (Tielemans 77), Maddison, Barnes (Iheanacho 58), Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Albrighton, Ward, Benkovic.
Southampton: McCarthy, Cédric Soares, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong (Djenepo 78), Ward-Prowse, Højbjerg, Redmond (Romeu 90), Long (Adams 78), Ings.
Substitutes: Yoshida, Boufal, Obafemi, Gunn.

Referee: Lee Mason. Attendance: 32,115.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester-Villa semi-final all square after Iheanacho strike

Leicester City 1:1 Aston Villa

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

City struggled to break down Villa’s stubborn resistance in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday evening…

Brendan Rodgers opted for a 5-3-2 for City’s first semi-final in twenty years, Vardy returned to the starting line-up, but Ndidi was missing having suffered a knee injury in training.
The game commenced in heavy rain and City were in attack mode from the start, with Villa happy to try and absorb the pressure but the final ball was lacking. The first chance arrived in the 13th minute when a poor clearance from Luiz led to a chance for Pérez, whose shot was deflected narrowly wide of the post.
Five minutes later Evans got his head to a Maddison free-kick but sent it wide, then Vardy got his first run in on goal but Nyland blocked his shot from a narrow angle.
In the 23rd minute Pérez sent Vardy in on the left but again his shot was saved by Myland who narrowed the angle well.
But for all their dominance City found themselves a goal down in the 28th minute. El Ghazi curled in a cross from the left, and Guilbert nipped ahead of Chilwell for a far post finish.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

As City pressed forward again Vardy attempted an ambitious shot that flew well over, to the delight of the vocal travelling fans.
Vardy was then given a ridiculous yellow card for trying to block a clearance from  Konsa who rolled around on the floor despite the fact that it was Vardy who got kicked.
Incredibly it was Villa who should have gone two up before the break. Grealish delivered a teasing free-kick from the left which tempted Schmeichel off his line, but Konsa got to it first, rattling a header off the crossbar from close in.
City’s final chance of the half came when Maddison curled in what looked like a goalbound shot, but Mings got his head to it.

Brendan Rodgers brought Choudhury in for the second half with City missing Ndidi’s physical presence in midfield, though the half didn’t get off to a promising start when Maddison and Pérez collided while attempting a passing move.
Villa sat very deep protecting their lead and City struggled to get through a claret wall.
A series of corners came to nought and then Tielemans, still struggling for form, blasted a shot well over the bar.
On the left Chilwell was in his unadventurous, back-passing mode, but things were more promising down the right with Ricardo performing superbly.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

City managed to get in behind the Villa defence in the 63rd minute when a Choudhury ball found Maddison, who played a neat one-two with Ricardo before firing his low shot too close to Nyland, who got down smartly to save.
With Villa hardly venturing into City’s half Brendan Rodgers made his second change in the 69th minute, bringing Iheanacho on for Pérez. And it only took the super-sub five minutes to find the net.
Choudhury robbed Luiz of the ball in midfield and found Vardy who set Iheancho up on the edge of the area. He showed great composure to side-step two defenders and fire the ball beyond Nyland’s reach.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

With Albrighton on for Tielemans City set about finding a winner, but Villa were practising the dark arts, with constant time-wasting and feigning injury to break up the play.  Söyüncü then got a talking to from the ref after a spat with Hause as tempers began to boil over.
In the 82nd minute City broke upfield through Ricardo after a Villa free-kick, but Vardy’s angled drive found the side-netting. Maddison then set up Albrighton, who recovered from a fall before shooting, but Mings blocked his effort.
Villa had a decent spell late on with City looking like they’d run out of steam.
But the final chance, deep into time-added-on fell for Söyüncü, but he headed a Fuchs throw-in straight at Nyland.
Despite City’s dominance – 70% possession, 21-3 on shots, 11-0 on corners – they hadn’t troubled a stubborn Villa defence nearly enough and the contest headed to Villa Park all square.

Brendan Rodgers held his hands up: “Our biggest problem in the first half was our pressing. We weren’t aggressive enough. That’s down to me. Wilf Ndidi got injured at the last minute. It was either a case of putting Hamza in, or, because I felt we would have a lot of the ball, maybe putting a ball-playing player at the bottom of our midfield. And Youri did fine, but we then missed that speed in our transition when we lost the ball to get it back quickly, we were just a little too passive for me in the first half. We bring Hamza into the game second half, and made a couple of changes and then we were a different team.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Söyüncü, Evans, Fuchs, Ricardo, Praet (Choudhury 45), Tielemans (Albrighton 79), Maddison, Chilwell, Pérez (Iheanacho 69), Vardy. 
Substitutes: Justin, Ward, Barnes, Benkovic.
Aston Villa: Nyland, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Guilbert, Douglas Luiz, Nakamba (Lansbury 86), Taylor, Trézéguet (Hourihane 67), El Ghazi (Vassilev 74), Grealish.
Substitutes: Chester, Jota, El Mohamady, Kalinic.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: 31,280.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester ease past unlucky Wigan into the 4th round

Leicester City 2:0 Wigan Athletic

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

City made it into the 4th round of the FA Cup with the aid of an own goal and a deflection against Wigan at the King Power on Saturday…

Brendan Rodgers made ten changes to his side against Championship opposition, with only Chilwell retaining his place, and no recognised striker. Benkovic made his long-awaited debut, partnering Morgan at the back
In contrast to many third round games around the country, the Leicester public were up for the cup, topping 30,000, and a new section for Union FS made for a great atmosphere.
The game had a fairly even opening spell with Wigan looking to send Windass through, but he was defeated by the offside flag, while Gray’s long-range effort didn’t test Marshall in the Wigan goal.
But City were gifted the lead in the 19th minute. Albrighton’s cross from the left was ahead of Barnes but Pearce’s awkward interception found the bottom left hand corner.
Two minutes later Choudhury and Gray produced a slick move through Wigan’s back line to set up Barnes, but Marshall blocked his shot at the near post.

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

Brendan Rodgers was forced into a 25th minute change when Morgan limped off with a groin strained, replaced by Söyüncü.
City dominated possession at this stage, but couldn’t create any chances.
It was Wigan who went close five minutes before the break.  Massey crossed from the right and Ward managed to get a hand to the ball as Windass looked lined up for a certain goal. Justin then blocked Dowell’s follow-up effort.
City broke upfield though Chilwell who sent Barnes in on the right. His shot took a big deflection that took the ball round Marshall and into the far corner for his first goal at the KPS.

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

A minute before the break Gray unleashed a fierce shot from the edge of the area that Marshall managed to parry.
City took a comfortable, slightly fortuitous, 2-0 lead in with them at half time.

City’s first chance of the second half came in the 56th minute when Albrighton crossed from the right, his final ball had been erratic all night but this one found the head of Praet but he couldn’t direct it on target.
Brendan Rodgers then lost another centre-half in the 67th minute when Benkovic limped off, replaced by Fuchs.
The game appeared to be drifting towards its inevitable conclusion until the 73rd minute. Wigan attacked down the left, Pearce delivered a cross to the near post and Lowe volleyed it home from six yards. Unfortunately for the travelling fans VAR intervened and Pearce’s kneecap was a good inch offside.
Ndidi came on for Mendy in the 77th minute with his contribution over the last couple weeks being appreciated after such a long time out of the team.
The introduction of Ndidi livened matters up. He bossed the midfield with ease and City pressed forward with more intent. Another well-struck Gray effort was tipped away by Marshall.
Ndidi then won the ball in midfield and charged forward before being shoved in the back on the edge of the penalty area. VAR concluded no foul. He then had a free header from a corner but sent it way over the bar.

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

Barnes then charged down the left beating the Wigan defence for pace but his near post shot was blocked by Marshall.
The final minute saw a bizarre interlude when a pitch invader went on a mazy run the length of the field, and vaulted the barrier before face-planting and being marched off by the stewards. The Magic of the Cup.

It hadn’t been a great performance by a City starting XI missing ten first team regulars, but it had been enough to progress, and Rodgers’ squad management had to be applauded again. The only negative point was the loss of two central defenders which must now surely be addressed in this transfer window.

Rodgers concluded: “The players gave everything and I couldn’t fault the mentality of the team – as always it was top class – but we demand more quality. It has been a tough schedule and I’ve tried to manage them. Now we look to the next game. Our ambition is to be competitive whether it’s the league or it’s in the cup competitions.”

Leicester: Ward, Justin, Morgan (Söyüncü 25), Benkovic (Fuchs 67), Chilwell, Albrighton, Mendy (Ndidi 77), Praet, Choudhury, Gray, Barnes.
Substitutes: Maddison, Iheanacho, Pérez, Jakupovic.
Wigan: Marshall, Sterling (Lowe 45), Dunkley, Kipre, Pearce (Robinson 81), Evans, Morsy, Williams, Dowell, Massey, Windass (Gelhardt 64).
Substitutes: MacLeod, Garner, Roberts, Jones.

Referee: Simon Hooper. Attendance: 30,330.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester kick off the decade with a comfortable win at Newcastle

Newcastle United 0:3 Leicester City

1920 newastle utd away

City rang in the New Year with a fine performance and a 3-0 win against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Wednesday…

Brendan Rodgers made six changes to his side, bringing back the regular first teamers Ricardo, Soyuncu, Chilwell, Ndidi, Maddison and Tielemans after resting them against West Ham. Vardy (tight calf) and Praet (illness) had their break extended.
Fuchs retained his place however, with Rodgers opting for three central defenders and instructions for a high press.
City dictated the play from early on in this game, and the first chance came in the third minute. Maddison delivered a corner from the right and Evans connected with a thumping header from 6 yards. Dubravka managed to parry it away, Evans nodded the loose ball across the face of goal, but the Newcastle keeper managed to palm it away before it reached Pérez.
As City pressed forward again Chilwell fired in a low cross for Iheanacho, but Dubravka intercepted again.
Tielemans then tried his luck from 20 yards, and although Dubravka couldn’t hold on to the shot, Fernández reached the rebound just ahead of Pérez.
For all City’s possession dominance, United should have taken the lead in the 25th minute. A through-ball from Tielemans was blocked, the ball fell for Shelvey who delivered a long ball forward for Joelinton to charge after. Söyüncü displayed incredible pace to make up the yards and put enough pressure on him, while Schmeichel blocked the shot with his chest.
Chances at both ends got a bit more frequent around the half hour mark with Fuchs snuffing out a couple of Newcastle moves and Ndidi heading over from a corner.
But it was City who made a breakthrough thanks to a 36th minute gift.
Lejeune attempted a weak pass across the penalty area, Pérez nipped in to reach it ahead of Schär, before waltzing round the Swiss defender and sliding the ball home. Having been booed by his former-club’s supporters he wasn’t obliged to do one of those ‘respectful’ low key celebrations.
Maddison, another City player who’d been attracting boos from the home crowd for winning a couple of free-kicks, virtually put the game to bed three minutes later.
Again it was the generous Lejeune who set things up, attempting a clearance up the left that Ricardo easily blocked to Pérez, who squared for Maddison. He advanced a few yards into some inviting space before launching a glorious left-footer into the top corner from 22 yards.
It was almost 3-0 a couple of minutes before the break. Pérez crossed hard and low from the right, but Iheanacho didn’t quite get the right contact at the far post and Dubraka blocked on the line.
Steve Bruce had complained long and hard about the punishing schedule of fixtures and his players started to drop like flies. Manquillo and Willems both had to be substituted in first half injury time.

Bruce then had to make another change during the break, withdrawing Shelvey. And his woes increased when Schär developed hamstring trouble a couple of minutes into the second half. After attempting to play on he had to concede defeat in the 51st minute and Newcastle were down to ten men.
Maddison unleashed another fine shot in the 55th minute but Dubravka plucked it from the air.  Then Tielemans sent Pérez away with a slide rule pass. The Spaniard picked out Iheanacho whose fired his shot too close to Dubravka, the rebound fell for Pérez but the overworked Newcastle keeper saved that too, before charging across goal to block a third attempt.
It was damage limitation for Newcastle now and they sat deep, as City passed and probed.
Gray replaced Iheanacho in the 63rd minute, and then Choudhury came on to a chorus of boos for Maddison, for the incident earlier this season that saw a long term injury to Matt Ritchie.
Choudhury, whose every touch was booed, didn’t let it get to him and he sealed the points in the 87th minute with a wonderful strike.
Gray cut a ball back from the left and Ndidi nudged it into the path of Choudhury on the edge of the area. His sweetly struck shot found the top right hand corner, his first goal for Leicester and a very special one.
That sparked a general exodus from the stadium which was almost empty by the time the ref’s whistle ended the game. Apart, that is, from the away section celebrating a second away win in four days.

Brendan Rodgers had nursed his squad through a very busy spell and, looking at Newcastle’s walking wounded, it had very much been the wise decision:
“We played very well in the first half with a new system. The players had great fluency. We pressed really hard. We worked them in the second half, stretched the game and it led to the third goal. All three of our goals were wonderful. James Maddison is a magical player who has so much talent and confidence. We are so happy for Hamza Choudhury to get his first goal – he’s a local boy who loves Leicester City. There is no way on this earth that you can ask players to play at the intensity we want without making a lot of changes.”

Happy New Year!

Newcastle: Dubravka, Schär (51), Fernández, Lejeune, Manquillo (Krafth 45), Hayden, Shelvey (S Longstaff 45), Willems (Yedlin 45), Muto, Almirón, Joelinton.
Substitutes: Carroll, Gayle, Darlow, Atsu
Leicester: Schmeichel, Söyüncü, Evans (Morgan 84), Fuchs, Ndidi, Ricardo, Tielemans, Maddison (Choudhury 77), Chilwell, Iheanacho (Gray 63), Pérez.
Substitutes: Justin, Albrighton, Ward, Barnes.

Referee: Martin Atkinson. Attendance: 52,178.

 

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