Dennis Praet

Narrowest Of Defeats For Spirited Foxes

An 80th-minute strike from Gabriel Jesus handed Manchester City a slender 1-0 Premier League victory over Leicester City on Saturday night at King Power Stadium.
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Back on Filbert Way after three weeks away, Brendan Rodgers made three changes to his starting XI, while Matty James came off the bench to make his first Premier League appearance in nearly two years.

A lively start to the encounter saw Jamie Vardy spurn what proved to be one of Leicester’s best opportunities of the game, as the City No.9 struck the post while one-on-one with Ederson.

Kasper Schmeichel was called into action at the other end just a minute later, with the Denmark international denying former Foxes winger Riyad Mahrez from distance, while he had to turn away Ilkay Gündogan’s effort shortly after as Man City grew into the game.

An even period saw second versus third in the Premier League battle it out at King Power Stadium, as Rodgers’ 5-3-2 faced up to Pep Guardiola’s 4-3-3.

Just before the half-hour mark, Leicester were denied a penalty when James Maddison’s free-kick struck Kevin De Bruyne’s raised arm, while the No.10 then tested goalkeeper Ederson from a similar position.

Before the interval, meanwhile, another shout for a City spot-kick came when Ederson collided with Nigeria international Kelechi Iheanacho in the box, only for a corner to be awarded.

Iheanacho made way at half-time following that challenge and on came Academy graduate Harvey Barnes, who made an immediate impact from the bench by flying down the right wing and having a dangerous cross turned away by Ederson.

Schmeichel got a strong hand to a low drive from De Bruyne with 53 minutes gone, and not long after, he produced another excellent save to keep Leicester in the game.

Gündogan’s shot hit the arm of Dennis Praet in the area and after a VAR check for handball, Man City were awarded a penalty. The clinical Sergio Agüero stepped up to take it, but Schmeichel went the right way and King Power Stadium erupted into a cauldron of noise.

Agüero was once again thwarted by Schmeichel two minutes later, while the Premier League’s top scorer, Vardy, volleyed wide of the mark after a brilliant set up from Portugal international right-back Ricardo Pereira.

Another opportunity for Ricardo followed, but he couldn’t direct his effort from inside the box on target while under pressure from substitute Nicolás Otamendi, while Guardiola’s next change proved to be a decisive one.

With 77 minutes on the clock, the Man City manager introduced Brazil international Jesus, who just three minutes later fired in the winning goal after a drive and pass from Mahrez.

However, while the result turned out to be a disappointing one, there proved to be a hugely positive moment after Jesus’ effort, as midfielder James notched up his first Premier League minutes since March 2018 after coming off the bench on Filbert Way.

Major moment

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Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper Schmeichel is finally beaten by Gabriel Jesus.

After Kasper Schmeichel had already denied Sergio Agüero from 12 yards, as well as another effort from the Argentine and strikes from Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gündogan in the first period.

But the Dane was finally breached with 10 minutes remaining after Gabriel Jesus latched onto Mahrez’s pass and found the back of the net.

The narrowest of margins separated the two sides, but Leicester can be proud of the way they threatened Pep Guardiola’s star-studded champions.

Who impressed?

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Christian Fuchs
Christian Fuchs

Gerry Taggart was impressed with Christian Fuchs' efforts against Man City.

Gerry Taggart told LCFC Radio at full-time: “Again, there were some really good performances today. James Maddison, for me, was near his best and Kasper Schmeichel made a couple of fantastic saves.

“Dennis Praet filled in in midfield, but for me, the unsung hero of today got substituted right at the end. I thought Christian Fuchs, from start to finish, showed how to defend properly and how to put pressure on. In possession of the ball, he was exemplary.”

Where do we stand?

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Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper Schmeichel saved Sergio Agüero's penalty at King Power Stadium.

City remain third in the Premier League standings and are now seven points behind Manchester City and six ahead of Chelsea following this weekend’s action.

Coming up…

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Matty James
Matty James

Matty James made a return to Premier League action after 23 months.

 

The Foxes’ Premier League campaign continues at Carrow Road against Norwich City on Friday evening (8pm kick-off), before attentions turn to an Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round tie with Birmingham City the following Wednesday (7:45pm kick-off).

All times GMT.

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