Tag Archives: Shinji Okazaki

Appleton steers Leicester to victory at Swansea

Swansea City 1:2 Leicester City

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

Caretaker manager Michael Appleton led City to a fine 2-1 win against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday…

Appleton made one change to Craig Shakespeare’s final starting line-up, bringing Okazaki in for Iheanacho, as City took on the Swans on a wet and windy afternoon in South Wales.

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

And the side immediately looked more positive than they had in recent weeks, with Okazaki’s glancing header forcing Fabianski into a save in the first minute.
The Swansea keeper was called into action again in the 9th minute, when Okazaki teed up Albrighton for a shot that was tipped over the bar.
City were dealing well with Swansea attacks and looking lively up front, and Fabianski made further saves from a Vardy shot and and an off-the-shoulder effort from Ndidi.
City underlined their superiority, taking the lead in the 25th minute. Mahrez retrieved the ball from the goal line, and the home side appeared to switch off, expecting a goal kick. The Algerian international delivered a dangerous cross from the left and Fernandez sent a diving header across Fabianski and into the net.
Swansea had a decent spell after falling behind, and a Narsingh cross deflected off Simpson but was claimed by Schmeichel at the foot of the post.
Despite a series of corners, the Swans failed to trouble City, who took their lead in with them at the break.

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

Four minutes into the second half, City doubled their lead with Okazaki getting the reward for his huge efforts.
Albrighton swung over a ball to pick out Mahrez on the edge of the six yard box, again the Swans defence hesitated appealing for offside, and Mahrez cushioned a pass for Okazaki to stab home from close in.
City’s two goal lead only lasted until the 56th minute, however.
A poor corner from the left by Renato Sanches was turned into a good one by Ayew’s back heel, and it found Mawson, whose shot on the turn found the bottom right hand corner.
Swansea had their tails up for a while, but rarely threatened Schmeichel’s goal, with an off target header from Abraham, and a long range effort from Naughton that flew well over.
King replaced Okazaki in the 68th minute as Appleton shored up a midfield that had seen a fantastic performance from Iborra, now finding his feet in the Premier League.

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

City could have wrapped things up with fifteen minutes left, but Vardy was denied by Fabianski in a one-on-one chance.
Swansea pressed forward with increasing desperation, but didn’t create any clear cut chances, a Routledge shot into the side-netting being the closest they came.
So the final whistle saw City’s second win of the season and a leapfrog out of the relegation zone up to 13th place.
It had been a hugely encouraging display, with some superb moments from Mahrez, solid defending, and effective attacking on the break.
The fans who had made the long trip in the face of ‘Storm Brian’ celebrated victory, though a ‘RUDKIN OUT’ banner reflected what some of them thought about recent events at the club.
Michael Appleton commented: “It’s been a difficult week for everyone – especially myself because of my relationship with Craig. This was an opportunity to put on a performance and make people feel a bit better. I was pleased with the first half – the way we moved the ball and went forward. And even when we conceded a sloppy goal, the way we saw out the game was very good.” 

Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Renato Sanches (Routledge 78), Britton (Ki Sung-yueng 45), Carroll, Narsingh (Dyer 56), Abraham, Ayew. Substitutes: van der Hoorn, Nordfeldt, Clucas, Rangel.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 87), Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton, Okazaki (King 68), Vardy. Substitutes: Chilwell, Iheanacho, Hamer, Amartey, Slimani.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 20,521.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Spot of bother as Leicester lose to Liverpool

Leicester City 2:3 Liverpool

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Jamie Vardy’s predictable penalty cost City a point at home to Liverpool on Saturday evening…

Round 2 of this week’s Leicester v Liverpool double header saw both sides making a few alterations, but Craig Shakepeare’s only change from the last Premier League game was the reintroduction of Okazaki to the starting line-up.
Despite Liverpool dominating the early possession it was City who had the first chance in the 6th minute. Okazaki sent Vardy in down the left and his angled drive was saved by Mignolet. The loose ball sat up for Mahrez who lifted it over the bar from close in.
Liverpool should have gone ahead in the 13th minute when a low 25 yarder from Can thumped the left hand post. The rebound went straight to Salah who jabbed it wide with Schmeichel still recovering from his dive.
Salah soon made amends, however, as Liverpool took the lead on the quarter hour.
Coutinho delivered a fine cross from the right, which Salah nodded past Schmeichel at the far post from an acute angle.

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The game had a physical edge now, with Ndidi and Albrighton getting booked, but Liverpool players avoiding a yellow card for similar fouls.
City’s afternoon then got worse as Liverpool doubled their lead in the 23rd minute, Coutinho curling a superb free-kick over the wall and just inside the left hand post.
Liverpool sat back on their two goal lead for a while, though City were struggling to do much with their possession. A low cross from Chilwell was smothered by Mignolet.
City then had the ball in the net in the 40th minute, but the offside flag was already raised before Okazaki timed his run perfectly to outstrip the Reds defence from a free kick.
City did, however, manage to halve the visitors lead three minutes into time added on.
Albrighton delivered a corner from the left, Mignolet missed his punch in a big aerial duel six yards out and Okazaki was in the right place to toe poke the ball over the line.
Liverpool protests about a foul in the general melee were waved away.

Liverpool had the better start to the second half and racked up a few chances. Coutinho volleyed straight at Schmeichel, Lovren headed wide from a corner, Can headed over from close in and then Firmino fired a shot well over.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 62nd minute, bringing Gray on for Mahrez.
City were enjoying a decent attacking spell when they were caught on the break in the 67th minute. Maguire was striding forward and played a one-two with Ndidi, but the return ball was heavy and possession was lost. Coutinho, Sturridge and Henderson raced forward and the latter was set up up for a neat finish past Schmeichel to restore Liverpool’s two goal lead.
But City struck back just two minutes later. Albrighton beat Gomez down the left and delievered a far post cross to Gray, who fired in a shot that Mignolet did well to save. The ball went straight to Vardy who directed his header into the unguarded goal.
City had their tails up now, and three minutes later they had a golden chance to equalise. Vardy raced into the penalty area and was flattened by Mignolet. Though he got a touch on the ball it was a clumsy challenge and the ref pointed to the spot.
Regardless of the fact that word may have got round, Vardy opted for his usual blast down the middle, and Mignolet had done his homework, staying on his feet to block just to his right.

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Moments after this penalty miss there was another big shout when Can handled in the area, but City were denied a second attempt.
Shakespeare then brought Iheanacho on for Okazaki.
Sturridge went close with a couple of shots before Shakespeare brought on another striker, Slimani for Albrighton.
This new line-up didn’t really work and Liverpool managed to close the game out in relative comfort.
It had been a highly entertaining encounter, but left City with a very poor return of 4 points from the first six games.
Craig Shakespeare commented: “Ultimately because we were searching for that second goal it cost us. We left ourselves too open. The third goal was always going to be hard to come back from. But, try we did and we could’ve got a point in the end. You have to realise that you’re playing against some quality opposition. The aim at the start was to play with the high intensity. We all know in football that games will ebb and flow.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez (Gray 61), Ndidi, King, Albrighton (Slimani 80),Okazaki (Iheanacho 74) Vardy. Substitutes: Hamer, Amartey, Iborra, Fuchs.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Can (Milner), Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino (Sturridge 64), Coutinho (Oxlade-Chamberlain 79). Substitutes: Karius, Klavan, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.
Referee: A Taylor.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Okazaki inspires League Cup win for Leicester

Leicester City 2:0 Liverpool

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Despite Liverpool’s total domination in the first half of this Carabao Cup 3rd round tie at the KPS on Tuesday night, an Okazaki-inspired City conjured up a 2-0 victory…

Craig Shakespeare made seven changes to his side, with Iborra and Dragovic making their debuts. But it was a youthful-looking Liverpool side, with Coutinho pulling the strings in midfield, that dominated play from the start, ending the half with 76% of the possession.
Although the Reds had 13 attempts on goal in the first half Hamer wasn’t that busy, with the City defence blocking most of them. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Grujic had their efforts blocked; Solanke fired one wide and Hamer saved a Coutinho shot.
Grujic thern headed wide from a corner and Coutinho sent another shot straight at Hamer.
With Slimani and Ulloa starved of service up front City’s first chance came in the 20th minute when Gray capped a run with a shot that was comfortably saved by Ward.
Liverpool then continued to tot up the chances, without troubling the scoreboard.
Solanke fired a shot over from close in, and had another effort blocked, before Robertson sent a left-footer wide.
An Oxlade-Chamberlain shot didn’t test Hamer, and the Coutinho missed the target with two other shots.
Having done virtually nothing but defend for 45 minutes, City had at least done that right, with a 0-0 scoreline that almost defied logic.

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In an apparently pre-ordained move Coutinho was withdrawn at the break, and with him went most of Liverpool’s creativity.
The second major turning point of the game came in the 53rd minute when Ulloa had to go off after falling heavily and was replaced by Okazaki.
The Japanese international instantly brought the near sell-out crowd to life with a strong run through the middle that showed more energy and positivity than anything they had witnessed in the whole first half.
Gray then went on a run through the middle, but sent his long range effort narrowly wide of the right hand post.
It was much improved performance from City and they took a 65th minute lead.
A ball forward from Chilwell saw Morgan win an aerial duel, Iborra nodded the ball into Okazaki’s path, and he steered it home from 12 yards out.

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Liverpool continued to waste chances. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Woodburn both cleared the bar, while Ings failed to make proper contact with a header from close in.
City gave them another spectacular lesson in finishing in the 78th minute when Slimani, running along the 18 yard line launched an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner.
City almost made it 3-0 two minutes later when Gray cut in from the left and sent a shot towards the bottom right hand corner that Ward did well to palm round the post.

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Young prospect Choudhury made his first appearance replacing Ndidi in the 84th minute, as City saw the game out.
City were into the 4th round of the Carabao Cup, an outcome you wouldn’t have believed at half time. This game highlighted the importance of Shinji Okazaki to the side in the current set-up.
Craig Shakespeare paid tribute to Okazaki: “He has got his head down and trained impeccably but that is the character of the man. He won’t change. He has always been like that. He has walked away with the man of the match trophy and he didn’t even play half the game. That just shows you the level of his contribution and impact he was able to make from the bench.”

Leicester: Hamer, Amartey, Morgan, Dragovic, Chilwell, Albrighton, Ndidi (Choudhury 84), Iborra, Gray, Ulloa (Okazaki 53), Slimani. Substitutes: Iheanacho, Musa, Jakupovic, Mahrez, Benalouane.
Liverpool: Ward, Flanagan, Gomez, Klavan, Robertson, Wijnaldum (Ings 73), Henderson, Grujic, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Coutinho (Woodburn 45). Substitutes: Karius, Milner, MorenoMarkovic, Alexander-Arnold.

Referee: S Attwell. Attendance: 31,609.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester coast to victory over Brighton

Leicester City 2:0 Brighton & Hove Albion

1718 brighton home c

City eased their way to victory against a toothless Brighton side, with goals from Okazaki and Maguire at the KPS on Saturday…

City, with an unchanged starting line-up from the Arsenal game, set the tone inside a minute, taking the lead against the Premier League new boys.
Mahrez shimmied round Seagulls left back Suttner as though he wasn’t there, and fired in a low shot which Ryan could only parry out to Okazaki, who gleefully netted from six yards.

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City should have gone 2-0 up after a defensive error saw Okazaki break through in the 16th minute, but his cut back to Vardy saw Duffy blocking two scuffed efforts from the England striker.
Okazaki then sent Vardy in on goal, but Ryan raced off his line to meet him, taking a blow to the face for his trouble.
Brighton had little to offer going forward, and although their first attack saw Murray volleying into the net, a linesman’s flag for offside halted the celebrations.
Brigthon’s other notable attempt on goal saw Morgan block a fierce shot, but penalty appeals were turned down.
City were happy to let Brighton have possession, but they couldn’t convert it into chances, and City threatened on the break.
Vardy delivered a cross from the right which Okazaki met at the near post, but he directed his effort just the wrong side of the upright.
The half ended with lengthy treatment for Duffy, after an aerial collision with Okazaki.

City continued to look comfortable in the second half and doubled their lead in the 54th minute. A Mahrez corner from the right saw Maguire rise at the far post to nod past Ryan. This capped a superb performance from City’s new centre-half, who had treated the home crowd to several surging runs out of defence, combined with incisive passing, making his £17m fee look like a bargain.

1718 brighton home d

Mahrez, who had also had a fine game, then looked set to wriggle and pirouette his way through a crowd of yellow shirts, before being halted by a strong challenge.
At this stage Knockaert was introduced to the action and received a huge ovation from the home crowd,  but he had little chance to impress, with City now in charge of the proceedings.

1718 brighton home a

Another surging run forward from Maguire saw him fouled on the edge of the area, but Albrighton’s free-kick was blocked by Knockaert.
The game then drifted towards its inevitable conclusion. Hemed forced a saved from the under-employed Schmeichel with a well struck 25 yarder, and then Okazaki was replaced by Slimani after putting in another huge shift.
The final spell of the game saw a couple of injury worries, with Morgan looking to have tweaked his troublesome back again, and Vardy limping off after a collision with Ryan.
The final whistle heralded City’s first win of the season, which was essential looking at the upcoming fixtures.
Craig Shakepeare was happy: “When you get a start like that it’s very pleasing. It was hard to break them down today but it was a professional performance to the end. It didn’t feel as comfortable as the stats suggest. We learned cruelly about game management last week, but to get the first win under the belt was the main thing.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, James, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 75), Vardy (Gray 90). Subs Not Used: Chilwell, King, Hamer, Amartey, Ulloa.
Brighton: Ryan, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner, March, Propper, Stephens, Murphy, Grob (Knockaert 62), Murray (Hemed 66). Subs Not Used: Bong, Hunemeier, Skalak, Maenpaa, Rosenior.

Referee: L Probert. Attendance: 31,902.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber


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Leicester slip up at the Etihad

Manchester City 2:1 Leicester City

1617 man city away

Leicester were denied a point at the Etihad on Saturday when Riyad Mahrez had a second half penalty disallowed for a double touch…

Craig Shakespeare was forced into making two changes to his line-up with Chilwell and King replacing the injured Huth and Drinkwater.
Man City were the first to threaten in the 3rd minute when a low cross from Sane was intercepted by Fuchs with Jesus waiting to pounce.
From the resulting corner, an unmarked Fernandinho had the goal at his mercy but got his header wrong and missed the target.
City’s unfamilar defence were looking a bit stretched, with Benalouane making a vital headed clearance before Jesus came within inches of of converting a cross.
Leicester then created a chance of their own but Ndidi’s awkaward header from a free-kick flew well over.
Soon after this Albrighton attempted a long range effort but it went tamely into Caballero’s grasp.
Man City had plenty of possession at this point but couldn’t create much. Silva broke through on the left and pulled back for Sane who mishit his shot across goal.
Ndidi blocked a Sterling effort, and then a De Bruyne 25 yarder span up off Benalouane, but sailed wide of Schmeichel’s goal.
The hosts broke Leicester’s resistance in the 29th minute. A Sane cross from the left found Silva in the area and slotted a cool finish home from 12 yards.
Sterling, in an offside position and unsighting Schmeichel, took a swing at the ball, but referee Bobby Madley didn’t judge him to be interfering with play, despite heated protests from the Leicester players.
Six minutes later Leicester were 2-0 down and there were no complaints this time as Benalouane knocked Sane over in the area with a clumsy lunge. Jesus sent Schmeichel the wrong way with his spot-kick and it was difficult to see a way back in for Leicester at this stage.
The one-way traffic continued towards the visitors goal, but with three minutes of the half left, Leicester struck back.
Great work from Albrighton down the left saw him deliver a cross that Okazaki crashed home with a brilliant volley.

Leicester started the second half with a purpose. Albrighton attempted a couple of shots, and then Kompany had to take a yellow for the team, felling Chilwell on the halfway line to prevent a dangerous looking breakaway move.
Sterling then cut in from the right and his cross struck Albrighton in the face, lengthy treatment for a nosebleed disproving the loud appeals for handball.
Leicester enjoyed a decent spell, pressing forward against a less confident looking City, without managing to deliver a telling final ball.
Toure had a shot blocked and City broke upfield, but a De Bruyne foul halted Okazaki’s progress.
Albrighton was in the wars again when Fernandinho planted an elbow into his eye, though it was judged accidental and Albrighton was left with an instant shiner and a sense of grievence.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 66th minute, bringing Amartey on for King, as Leicester continued to press forward in search of an equaliser.
Slimani was then brought on for Okazaki.
In the 76th minute Leicester appeared to have made the breakthrough. Mahrez had just entered the penalty area when he was tripped by Clichy for an obvious penalty.
Mahrez picked up the ball himself and netted from the penalty spot, but wait.
The Leicester fans celebrations were cut short as play restarted with a goal kick. Mahrez had slipped at the vital moment and connected twice with his shot. Madley had shown attention to detail, without noticing two Man City players encroaching into the area and Caballero off his line.
He wasnt the first player to slip over on a pich that had been heavily watered at half time, but it was an unprecedented way to throw a point away.
With ten minutes remaining Albrighton gained revenge on Fernandinho with a heavy challenge and he was instantly replaced by Gray.
The action was end to end now. Kompany failed to nod a Silva cross under the bar, while a great Leicester move down the right saw Simpson deliver a cross for Vardy, whose flick went narrowly wide.
Otamendi blocked an Ndidi shot as the 90 minutes came up and he required treatement which would further extend the 7 minutes of time-added-on.
It was frantically scrappy end to the game. City had a free-kick when Mahrez was fouled by Silva. Schmeichel came upfield for it, but the home defence cleared and the final whistle blew.

Craig Shakespeare wasn’t happy with Man City’s first goal, or the failure to retake the penalty due to encroachment, but was satisfied with the performance:
“It’s bad luck from our point of view, but I’m more pleased with the way the lads went about it second half, we took the game to City and caused lots of problems. We looked a bit dejected first half, the two goals took the stuffing out of us, and to get our goal, a quality goal, was the first time we played with any quickness to our play. I think the players are getting every last drop out of themselves. The spirit, determination they showed was there for everyone to see.”

Man City : Caballero, Fernandinho, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy, Toure, Sterling (Aguero 78), De Bruyne (Zabaleta 82), Silva, Sane, Gabriel Jesus (Jesus Navas 90). Subs Not Used: Fernando, Nolito, Kolarov, Gunn.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Fuchs, Chilwell, Mahrez, Ndidi, King (Amartey 68), Albrighton (Gray 80), Okazaki (Slimani 73), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Musa, Kapustka, Zieler, Wasilewski.

Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 54,407. 

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Leicester stumble at Sunderland

Sunderland 2:1 Leicester City

1617-sunderland-away-d

City’s place in the relegation dogfight was firmly booked after a 2-1 defeat at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri made one change to his side for this trip to the north-east, with Slimani replacing Okazaki up front.
City suffered a shaky start and Watmore forced a save from Zieler in the first minute. Sunderland continued to press forward and Morgan had to block an Anichebe effort from close range.
Anichebe then set up Defoe, but the prolific striker couldn’t convert the chance, when well placed.
City eventually got a foothold in the game and Mahrez tried to move things forward. He earned a corner from a deflected shot, which Albrighton delivered into a dangerous area, but Vardy did not get enough on his header and it fell a yard wide.
Vardy then sent another header off target, trying to loop the ball over the advancing Pickford, after a decent cross from Fuchs.
City ended the half on top, with Pickford parrying an Albrighton shot, and a cross-cum-shot from Fuchs hitting the top of the crossbar.

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City had the first chance of the second half when Slimani’s close range shot was blocked by Djilobodji, but it was the Black Cats who took a 64th minute lead.
Kirchhoff got his head to a Larsson corner from the right, but it was heading wide before it hit Huth on the arm and was diverted into the net.
Sunderland went further ahead 13 minutes later,  Anichebe set up Watmore for a shot which was blocked by Huth, but Defoe seized on the loose ball, finding the bottom right hand corner with his first time effort.
City desperately attempted to get back in the game and gained a foothold with ten minutes to go when two substitutes combined to get City on the scoresheet.
Gray beat Jones down the left and slid a low cross to the near post where Okazaki produced a clever finishing touch to claw City back into the game.
This was a bruising encounter by now, Huth wearing a bandage on his head, Simpson limping heavily after turning his ankle, and Watmore stretchered off with a knee injury after a ball-winning challenge from Fuchs.

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City’s chance to draw level came deep into 6 minutes of time added on, as the defence and then even Zieler, piled forward.
In a frantic scramble with 22 players around the Sunderland box, Simpson had a shot blocked, the ball fell for Morgan eight yards out but Pickford stuck out a hand to save his shot, and then Morgan sent the rebound wide.

The final whistle signalled yet another defeat for City on their travels, with the feeling that this is going to be a long, hard winter.
Claudio Ranieri summed up: “We did our best today, but it wasn’t enough. We have to keep working hard in training and trust the bad moment will turn. From the own goal you can see the luck is not with us – but we have to stay compact, stay together and react strongly.”

Sunderland: Pickford, Jones, Koné, Van Aanholt, Djilobodji, Ndong, Denayer (Kirchhoff 45), Pienaar (Larsson 45), Watmore (Manquillo 85), Defoe, Anichebe. Subs Not Used: Januzaj, O’Shea, Mannone, Khazri.
Leicester: Zieler, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez (Musa 73), Amartey, King, Albrighton (Gray 73), Slimani (Okazaki 68), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Hernandez, Hamer, Schlupp, Mendy.

Referee: A. Marriner. Attendance: 39,725.

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Win over Bruges sees Leicester into Champions League knockout phase

Leicester City 2:1 FC Bruges

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City’s 2-1 win over Bruges at the KPS on Tuesday night sealed top spot in Group G, and saw the Champions League new boys into the last 16…

City, who only needed a point to progress into the knockout phase, had one change to the starting line-up with King replacing Amartey in midfield.
And Claudio Ranieri’s side got off to a cracking start, taking a 5th minute lead.
Fuchs made good progress down the left and curved a low cross round two defenders, which was met by Okazaki at the near post for a fine finish into the top left hand corner.

Leicester City v Club Brugge, Champions League, 22 November 2016

The Belgian champions were rattled by this and struggled to keep possession against an energetic looking City. Three minutes later Mahrez almost caught out Butelle with a near post shot from an acute angle, but the keeper managed to block.
City continued to press forward, but decent crosses from Albrighton and Vardy saw no one in position for a finishing touch.
In a rare attack for Bruges, Vanaken got his head to a cross, but straight into Zieler’s grasp.
After a flat spell of play, City reignited the crowd with a second goal on the half hour.
Albrighton went round Cools down the left, but the defender caught him as he went past and referee Ruddy Buquet had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Mahrez sent Butelle the wrong way with his usual halting run up, and City were so close to the next round that you could almost touch it.
Approaching the break, there was a chance at either end.
Morgan sent a header towards the top corner, but Butelle saved; and Zieler produced an acrobatic parry in response to  a curling effot from Izquierdo.

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City applied some early pressure in the second half, with a long-throw and a cross from Fuchs both causing the visitors’ defence problems, but it was Bruges who found the net in the 52nd minute.
City’s proud record of no goals conceded in the competition was dented when Izquierdo collected the ball on the halfway line, raced past Fuchs, and fired in a shot that beat Zieler at his near post.
With the evening now gaining an extra edge, there were two disallowed goals in as many minutes. Vardy produced a clever back-heel that trundled over the line, while at the other end Claudemir found the net, but both were narrowly offside.
Claudio Ranieri made a double change in the 68th minute, with Gray and Schlupp replacing goalscorers Okazaki and Mahrez.
After a minute on the field, Schlupp beat his marker and charged goalwards, but sent his shot too close to Butelle.
Bruges had a decent attacking spell which gnawed at the nerves a little, but the City defence never looked too stretched.
Armartey replaced Albrighton with 12 minutes remaining, and he soon had a chance, but got his shot horribly wrong.
Bruges’s best chance came and went when a Van Rhijn corner was flicked across goal by Vanaken, but no one was positioned for what would have been a tap in.

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A chance to end the evening in great style was then wasted. Gray played a superb one-two with Vardy, as City broke upfield, and was clear on goal, but the youngster hit his shot straight at the advancing Butelle.
In the third minute of time added on Gray was again denied by Butelle after Drinkwater teed him up, but the final whistle sparked delighted celebrations at City’s incredible achievement.
Porto’s goalless draw in Copenhagen meant that City had won the group with a game to spare. Not bad for a first attempt.

Claudio was delighted, but mindful of domestic matters: “It’s unbelievable. Top of the group, very happy, very proud for my players, very happy for the chairman, for the fans, for everybody. Another journey to the knockout – unbelievable. Now our mind must go on the Premier League because I want to push my players to think about that.”

Leicester: Zieler, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, King, Mahrez (Schlupp 68), Albrighton (Amartey 78), Okazaki (Gray 68), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Hamer, Hernández, Musa, Ulloa.
Bruges: Butelle, Simons, Poulain, Claudemir (Wesley 84), Vossen, Izquierdo, Pina (Limbombe 61), Vanaken, Cools, De Bock (Van Rhijn 70), Mechele. Subs Not Used: Bruzzese, Felipe Gedoz, Denswil, Bolingoli.

Referee: R Buquet. Attendance: 31,443. 

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…

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The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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