Leicester City 2:1 Manchester City
City came from behind to beat Manchester City at the KPS on Boxing Day, with a scorching 81st minute winner from Ricardo Pereira…
Claude Puel stuck with the same starting line-up from the win at Chelsea for the visit of the Champions and it was to produce another victory.
Man City hogged possession in the early stages but City looked fairly comfortable at the back, until they were unlocked in the 14th minute.
Aguero fed a ball through to Bernardo Silva who timed his run perfectly to stay onside and had time to place his shot past Schmeichel.
Although going a goal down to a side like Man City early on can deaden the atmosphere, City struck back five minutes later. After a period of pressure from the visitors, which saw shots straight at Schmeichel from Sané and De Bruyne, City broke upfield.
Vardy cut in from the left and sent a ball over to the far post where Albrighton had raced clear of his marker to nod the ball back across Ederson and into the net.
Man City applied the pressure again, but on the half hour Claude Puel wrote a short letter to Maddison, informing him that he was to play behind Vardy, with Choudhury moving to the right and Albrighton to the left.
After this switch round, City were the better side and began to create much more going forward.
They had a scare in the 37th minute though, when some poor distribution from Schmeichel led to Sané squaring to Aguero, who jabbed the ball over the bar from six yards.
Maddison had a shot saved by Ederson at his near post, and then a Chilwell cross from the left found Choudhury at the far post but he didn’t get good contact on a difficult chance and the ball went across the goalmouth before it was cleared by Stones.
Maddison and Maguire also sent chances wide as City dominated up to the break and it was the visitors who were happiest to hear the half time whistle.
Maddison had the first chance of the second half, but sent his long range effort a couple of yards wide.
Although the visitors weren’t at their best they were still a constant threat and City had to work hard, hunt in packs, and get their tackles in.
Maguire went in a bit too hard, clattering Bernardo Silva from behind to pick up a yellow card, but he made amends clearing the free-kick with a towering header.
Man City were pressing hard now and Claude Puel made a change in the 62nd minute, bringing Gray on for Choudhury, who was cheered to the rafters.
Morgan produced a fine block to deny Sané, and Schmeichel slid out to smother a De Bruyne effort and the Champions continued to threaten, but City had a good chance of their own. Maddison sent Vardy in down the left, but Laporte got in with a fine block tackle as he pulled the trigger.
Maguire did the same at the other end to rob Sané as he looked to be clear on goal. With Maguire on a yellow it had to be a perfectly timed challenge, and it was.
Man City appeared to be running out of steam, and another change, Simpson on for Maddison in the 77th minute, appeared to turn the tide with Ricardo free to go forward.
City pressed forward, and earned a corner in the 81st minute. Albrighton’s delivery was poor, with Sané heading it away from the far post. The loose ball went to Ricardo, 18 yards out, and he took a touch before lashing it across the crowded penalty area, beyond Ederson and into the net.
The KPS exploded with joy and City were nine minutes away from an unlikely Christmas double.
Pep Guardiola brought Mahrez on for Bernado Silva, but City were looking comfortable at the back and managing the game well. Sané fired a shot well over, as did Gray at the other end. The final change came in the 88th minute when Okazaki replaced Vardy, but then Man City were reduced to ten men when Delph followed through after a challenge and caught Ricardo on the knee. Although Ricardo swiftly got back to his feet referee Mike Dean had a quick consultation with his linesman and produced a straight red.
City retained possession well for the remainder of the game and the final whistle confirmed a second superb victory in four days.
The six points against top six opponents shifted City up to 7th place and relieved what had been mounting pressure on Claude Puel.
Puel commented: “We need now to maintain a level. I will see the recovery of the players. The most important game will be against Cardiff. We created the upset but we played against top sides. It was just a challenge. I would like to congratulate my players – it was amazing.”
It was indeed amazing. Merry Christmas.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Choudhury (Gray 63), Mendy, Ndidi, Albrighton, Vardy (Okazaki 88), Maddison (Simpson 78).
Substitutes: Evans, Ward, Iborra, Ghezzal.
Man City: Ederson, Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Delph, De Bruyne (Silva 70), Gündogan, Bernardo Silva (Mahrez 83), Sterling, Agüero, Sané.
Substitutes: Walker, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Foden, Muric.
Referee: Mike Dean. Attendance: 32,090.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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FOX 210 is out now and is dedicated to the memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabh and the others who died in the tragedy at the King Power Stadium.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed and we hope it is a fitting tribute.
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