Wesley Fofana

Slender Fulham Reverse For City On Filbert Way

Leicester City suffered a 2-1 defeat by Fulham in the Premier League at King Power Stadium on Monday evening.
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Brendan Rodgers brought Wesley Fofana, Papy Mendy, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Jamie Vardy into the starting XI following Thursday’s qualification-securing 3-3 draw at SC Braga in the UEFA Europa League, deploying a 3-4-2-1 shape on Filbert Way.

Following a minute’s applause in memory of Diego Maradona and Papa Bouba Diop, who both sadly passed away over the past week, the action got underway on Filbert Way.

It took until the 15th minute for either side to forge a legitimate opening, amid a torrential downpour, as Ademola Lookman curled a free-kick high and wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s net.

At the other end, an excellent bursting run from James Justin forced Harrison Reed to concede a free-kick to City on the edge of the area, leading to a quite remarkable passage of play.

While Maddison’s free-kick was denied by the wall, the rebound – struck well by Tielemans – cannoned back off the far post, before Fofana’s chip also hit the woodwork, glancing off the crossbar.

Midway through the half, meanwhile, Vardy went close as he spun on the spot to back-heel Dennis Praet’s low cross at goal, hoping to tuck it into the bottom corner, but Alphonse Areola was there to save at his near post.

Schmeichel’s first real involvement shortly followed, when Ivan Cavaleiro played in the onrushing Antonee Robinson for a first-time effort. The Dane, though, was up to the task with a smart stop. It proved to be a warning for City.

When André-Frank Anguissa collected a loose ball in his own half, a marauding forward run afforded him with the space to locate Lookman and, one-on-one with Schmeichel, the Red Bull Leipzig loanee did the rest with a composed finish.

The Londoners had a penalty, too, when Bobby Decordova-Reid was felled by Christian Fuchs in the area, awarded after Simon Hooper assessed the collision on the VAR pitchside monitor.

With seven minutes of the opening half to play, up stepped Cavaleiro to fire an assured spot-kick to Schmeichel’s left, handing Scott Parker’s side a two-goal advantage.

Schmeichel was required again to make a point-blank save to stop Cavaleiro from adding another for Fulham, while Maddison also curled an ambitious effort, from 25 yards, over the bar. Fuchs, meanwhile, forced a block from Ola Aina before the break, but it remained 2-0.

A double change at the interval saw Cengiz Ünder and Harvey Barnes join the action, offering the Foxes more attacking options on the field of play as they proceeded to pen Fulham in for large spells.

The visitors, though, were reluctant to offer anything other than half chances for much of the second period, with several men behind the ball at all times, waiting patiently for a chance to counter.

To that end, Fulham pounced on 74 minutes with Robinson dragging a cross back across goal for Lookman, but Schmeichel was on hand to frustrate the 23-year-old from close range.

Ünder was unlucky, too, when his attempt from distance was blocked before Barnes gave Leicester renewed hope with five minutes from time, chesting Vardy's header down and hitting it past Areola. 

The chance to level it came with seconds to spare as both Ünder and Kelechi Iheanacho couldn't apply a finish in the area, but Fulham quickly broke, with Schmeichel up in the visitors' half for a late corner.

Aina's effort though, was headed away by Fuchs to prevent Parker's men from adding a third to their tally in the final seconds of a frustrating evening for the Foxes.

Major moment…

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Simon Hooper
Simon Hooper

Referee Simon Hooper awards a penalty to the Cottagers just before the half-time break.

While Ademola Lookman's gave Fulham a slender lead, the visitors doubling their advantage before half-time gave Leicester an uphill battle at King Power Stadium.

Ivan Cavaleiro's well-struck spot-kick handed the visitors an opportunity to soak up pressure in the second period, utilising a rigid defensive block to frustrate Brendan Rodgers' men.

Who impressed?

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Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans was praised by former City captain Matt Elliott at full-time.

Matt Elliott, speaking on LCFC Radio's Matchday Live, said: "Youri Tielemans delivered a few moments of decent play. He wasn’t at his best, but he’s put in a few nice balls and orchestrated a few little moves."

Where does it leave us?

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Luke Thomas
Luke Thomas

Academy graduate Luke Thomas looks to work an opening for the Foxes at King Power Stadium.

Leicester City remain fourth in the Premier League standings on 18 points, three adrift of leaders Tottenham Hotspur, with a goal difference of +5 after 10 matches in 2020/21.

Coming up…

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Cengiz Ünder
Cengiz Ünder

Cengiz Ünder was introduced at the break for the Foxes.

An eight-game run in December begins on Thursday with a trip to Ukraine to tackle Zorya Luhansk in the UEFA Europa League (5:55pm kick-off), before another away test at Bramall Lane, against Sheffield United in the Premier League, next Sunday (2:15pm kick-off).

All times GMT.

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