Sheffield United 1:2 Leicester City
Substitute Harvey Barnes settled a tight game in City’s favour with a superb 70th minute strike at Bramall Lane on Saturday…
Brendan Rodgers made one change to his line-up, with Praet making his full debut in place of Ndidi, who had a hamstring injury. With Chilwell still unavailable Fuchs continued in his left back role.
The game kicked off in glorious sunshine and a raucous atmosphere, with Sheffield Wednesday fan Vardy’s every touch being booed.
City dealt with an early spell of pressure and Robinson fired over from a corner, but then the visitors began to press forward. Pérez pulled a ball back for Tielemans who fired well wide, before Maddison was fouled 30 yards out. Fuchs hit the free-kick through the wall and it was deflected narrowly wide, but referee Andy Madley awarded a goal kick.
Maddison then got a glancing header to a cross, but it drifted wide of the far post.
A Tielemans cross for Vardy was also nodded wide, while at the other end a 35 yard rising shot from Lundstram went two feet over the bar.
With the tide going United’s way again their overloading of the left flank led to a chance for Baldock, but his well struck volley went straight at Schmeichel.
Maddison was brought down for another free kick 30 yards out but delivered it straight into the wall.
With the game finely poised City took a 37th minute lead. Pérez won the ball on the halfway line and a superb ball from Maddison sent Vardy in down the left and he fired past Henderson before celebrating in front of the Kop, which reduced some Blades to a gibbering rage.
City took that lead in with them at the break.
City had an early chance in the second half when Vardy nodded a ball to Pérez at the far post, but the angle was just too tight.
Eight minutes into the second half Chris Wilder changed his front line, bringing on McBurnie and Sharp, and with the home crowd fired up the Blades enjoyed a spell of pressure. This dominance led to a 61st minute equaliser when Baldock delivered a cross from the right and McBurnie rose above the City defence to direct a header past Schmechel.
A huge roar greeted this goal, but City dug in and regained control of play.
Barnes replaced Praet in the 64th minute and now it was City doing the attacking.
And it was Barnes who fired home a superb winner in the 70th minute. A Fuchs cross from the left was nodded back by Söyüncü and Barnes struck as sweet a half-volley as you could ever wish to see. It was in the net before Henderson could even move.
United pressed forward looking for another equaliser and it looked like it had come in the 75th minute when Lundstrum connected well from close range but Schmeichel reacted with a fantastic save, not diminished by the fact that the offside flag was up.
With City under pressure Rodgers brought on Morgan for Pérez to shore up the back line. The defence dealt with a series of corners and then Rodgers tightened up further with Mendy replacing Tielemans in the 88th minute.
The most nervy moment came in time added on when United won a free kick 22 yards out, but Choudhury stood firm in the wall to block the shot. After four additional minutes City had weathered the storm for their first win of the season.
There was still room for improvement, with Tielemans and Pérez yet to find form, but it has been a good start to the season underlined by third place in the Premier League on Saturday evening.
Brendan Rodgers commented: “We needed to be ready to fight and show resilience and it was an important three points for us. We had to change the system in the last 25 minutes to cope with the balls coming into the box. It is a very young group but they are all focused and doing well for me. It was fantastic technique for Harvey’s goal and that kind of goal was worthy of being the winning goal.”
Sheff United: Henderson, Basham (Morrison 78), Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Freeman, Stevens, McGoldrick (McBurnie 54), Robinson (Sharp 54).
Substitutes; Jagielka, Osborn, Moore, Besic.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Fuchs, Choudhury, Tielemans (Mendy 89), Praet (Barnes 64), Maddison, Vardy, Pérez (Morgan 78).
Substitutes: Justin, Gray, Albrighton, Ward.
Referee: Andy Madley. Attendance: 30,079.
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