Sheffield United 1: 4 Leicester City
City progressed in the Carabao Cup with a 4-1 win, eventually overcoming some spirited resistance from Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Tuesday night.
The League Cup’s latest incarnation still appears to be a chance for squad players to turn out, with both sides making eight changes from their last league outings, and there were plenty of empty seats at Bramall Lane, apart from in the away end.
The first half didn’t reward those who had turned out to watch, with a goalless battle of attrition unfolding.
After a nervous moment when former-Blade Maguire received lengthy treatment after a foul by Lafferty, City had an early attacking spell. This came to nought after a couple of sliced crosses from Musa, who then fired a shot into the side-netting.
United carved out a couple of chances, but a shot from Carruthers and an Evans header both went straight into Hamer’s chest.
Gray forced a save from Eastwood, and Brooks attempt on goal almost squirmed under Hamer.
City began to get the upper hand towards the break, with Slimani having a goalbound shot blocked by Wright, and Chilwell forcing a good save from Eastwood.
City were unchanged for the second half, but stepped things up a gear, and went ahead in the 52nd minute.
It was Gray who produced a moment of magic, cutting in from the left wing and accelerating through three United defenders before slotting the ball through Eastwood’s legs.
The lead was doubled ten minutes later when a precise through ball from King sent Slimani in to round the keeper and sidefoot into an an empty net.
Eastwood produced a fine save to deny Gray’s curling shot, before City added a third in the 67th minute. Gray’s cross from the right fell perfectly for Slimani to scuff home at he far post.
Although United pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute, when what looked a like a mishit cross from Lavery caught Hamer out at his near post, the result was long beyond doubt.
City added a fourth in time added on when Musa, who hadn’t had a great game, persisted to the last. He battled his way round two challenges before firing into the roof of the net with the last kick of the game.
Craig Shakespeare was happy with the performance of Gray: “He has given me food for thought. The idea before the game was to give the squad and the players the game time which they needed and they answered in the right way.”
The Carabao Cup third-round draw takes place at 4.15am BST on Thursday, in Beijing.
We won’t be setting our alarm clocks.
Sheff Utd: Eastwood, Freeman, Wright, Basham 68), Connell, Baldock (Coutts 68), Brooks, Lundstram, Carruthers, Lafferty, Evans (Sharp 62), Lavery. Subs Not Used: Stevens, Basham, Thomas, Sharp, Coutts, Duffy, Blackman.
Leicester: Hamer, Amartey, Maguire (Knight 81), Fuchs, Chilwell, Musa, Ndidi (Mendy 77), King, Gray, Ulloa, Slimani. Subs Not Used: Vardy, Albrighton, Jakupovic, Okazaki, Mahrez.
Referee: T Harrington. Attendance: 11,280.
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