Leicester City 1:2 West Bromwich Albion
City’s Remembrance Day fixture saw the end of a 14 month unbeaten home run, with West Brom claiming all three points at the KPS on Sunday evening…
Former City player Howard Riley delivered the match ball before the Last Post was accompanied by a superb tifo display of giant poppies in all four stands.
Claudio Ranieri made five changes to the side that drew in Copenhagen with Zieler, Simpson, King, Okazaki and Slimani in the starting XI.
But it was the visitors, without a win in five games, who carved out the first chance.
Phillips burst through a group of four blue shirts down right inside channel and flashed a shot across goal which Zieler got a slight touch to, to divert it just past the far post.
The City keeper then took a little too long in clearing a backpass, and struck the onrushing Rondon, but the rebound sailed harmlessly over the bar.
In a busy opening quarter of an hour for the German keeper he then had to be swiftly off his line to tackle Brunt, who had been sent in on goal by Morrision.
City were struggling to make much of an impression on the game, a Fuchs cross proving too far from Slimani for him to direct his header was about the only half chance of a very poor first half performance.
Vardy replaced Okazaki at half time and raised the atmosphere for a while, chasing down Evans to gain a corner, but it was West Brom who took the lead seven minutes into the second half. A sweeping cross-field move ended with Rondon crossing from the right and Morrison directing a fine header beyond Zieler from 8 yards.
The small, but noisy, band of away fans were in raptures, but they were silenced just three minutes later.
City, seemingly provoked into action by going a goal down, broke upfield. Slimani swung a ball out to Mahrez on the right and he cut inside and delivered a cross to the edge of the six yard box where Slimani just evaded being offside to head home unopposed from close in.
City’s momentum continued. King sent Musa though on the left but he squared for Vardy, when a shot was surely on, and a touch from Evans sent it behind the City striker.
It was all City now, with everything going to Mahrez to attack Albion’s left flank, but a new option was introduced when Gray replaced Musa in the 66th minute.
But then the tide turned again and the Baggies had an attacking spell. Zieler saved from a Dawson header, and Simpson cleared off the line from the resulting corner. In the 72nd minute Albion regained their lead.
Drinkwater’s wayward backpass sent Phillips through on goal. He outpaced Morgan, before a delicate chip over Zieler nestled into the back of the net.
City set about the task of finding another equaliser, but it was too predictable. Ball out to Mahrez on the right, plucked out of the air by his magic foot, stepover, beat the full-back, deliver the cross. But they were being gobbled up by the West Brom defence, and when King did find himself some room for a header it was straight at Foster.
West Brom were in full-on time-wasting mode by now. Both goal celebrations had been co-ordinated to take up as much time as possible (possibly on the training ground) and now Foster was taking an age with each goal kick, and Brunt was booked for kicking the ball away at a free-kick.
They needn’t have worried. City couldn’t couldn’t summon much in 5 minutes of time added on, and for the first time since September 2015, they had lost a league game at home.
Claudio Ranieri commented: “I am very sorry we lost our unbeaten record at home. We knew it would be a tough match against West Brom. The first half was not good. We try to have a plan but it was difficult to do this, the second half was much better but we lost the match. We made a plan to go on the flank and make crosses from the flank. But we made very few and also we made some long balls and for the central defenders it was too easy. To say something is easy, to do it is more difficult. Maybe we had Champions League fatigue, I don’t know.”