Harvey Barnes

Barnes Strike The Difference As Leicester Defeat Leeds

Leicester City's good form continued with a 1-0 Premier League win over Leeds United in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday at King Power Stadium.
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Following Tuesday's 2-0 success over Burnley, manager Brendan Rodgers fielded Academy graduate Hamza Choudhury at right-back, while Jamie Vardy returned to the XI after his game-winning impact at Turf Moor earlier in the week - two changes for Leicester's second league match in five days.

In the build-up, and throughout the game, the Football Club sought to raise funds for The British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal, supporting the humanitarian emergency caused by ongoing conflict. Skipper Kasper Schmeichel wore a special captain's armband, while both teams, and their supporters, shared a moment of applause in the lead-up to kick-off.

Only 90 seconds into the game, Schmeichel made a fine stop from Dan James, whose low strike was tipped around the post. Illan Meslier then held onto Harvey Barnes' 20-yard curler after a swift start at King Power Stadium. Robin Koch drove wide not long after, before Luke Ayling nodded over.

In a frenetic few minutes, Jack Harrison's drilled shot was saved by the feet of Schmeichel, whose 461st match for the Foxes meant he moved third in the Club's all-time appearances list. Leicester raced up the other end, through Vardy, who was hauled to the ground by Pascal Struijk - the Leeds defender receiving a yellow card for his troubles after denying the No.9 a run on goal.

There was little time to pause in the opening stages. Leeds were a threat on the counter-attack through James and Raphinha. City, though, enjoyed most of the possession - a large proportion of which came in Leeds territory - and were back to their creative self. 

No team appeared to be letting up in their quest for an opener. After 20 minutes, Koch got in the way of a Barnes strike, then Rodrigo blasted off target. A sliding challenge from Choudhury further on in the first period then put a stop to a Leeds attack down the left.

Entering the final few minutes of the first half, a superb brace of blocks from Çağlar Söyüncü prevented Junior Firpo and then Raphinha's efforts from reaching Schmeichel in the City net. The Turkey defender, at the opposite end, very nearly prodded in a loose ball after Meslier had saved Wilfred Ndidi's header, however the Leeds stopper gathered before he could get there. Rodrigo's wayward attempt in added time brought to an end a goalless first 45.

Into the second half, Raphinha tried to divert James' strike towards the bottom corner, but from six yards, the ball flew wide in front of the South Stand. Amartey had to get across to block a James delivery just moments later, after City had attacked at the other end through Barnes. 

Leicester were having to defend their goal, with Amartey there again to prevent Harrison's half-volley from making its way goalbound. The resulting corner was flicked on target by Rodrigo, however Schmeichel intervened by parrying to safety at the near post. The Denmark star was there again on the hour mark, saving at point-blank range from Raphinha. 

Rodgers sensed changes were needed and on came forward duo Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho, in place of Choudhury and Vardy - the latter having made his first start since December. Albrighton switched to right-back, with Lookman operating on the right flank. 

Substitute Joe Gelhardt had a strike deflect wide off Albrighton, and there was a brief moment of concern when VAR checked a potential penalty for handball against the No.11, however the consultation was a swift one, and nothing was given. 

That moment proved to be a significant one, as City were ahead not long after. Youri Tielemans raked the ball wide to Barnes, who drove towards goal, played a one-two with substitute Iheanacho, opened up his body and side-footed into the far corner beyond Meslier - his fourth goal in as many matches against Leeds, and his eighth across all competitions in 2021/22.

Ndidi, on a booking, was replaced by Papy Mendy, who made his first City appearance since returning from Cameroon as a CAF Africa Cup of Nations champion with Senegal. Söyüncü's interception shortly after, meanwhile, saw him halt the advances of James on the edge of the box.

In the same defensive move, Amartey tidied up at the back, and after a coming together with substitute Tyler Roberts, required treatment on the pitch. Both were able to continue for the final 10 minutes of an occasionally end-to-end encounter at King Power Stadium.

In an attempt to claim something from the game, Leeds pressed in the latter stages with Koch glancing Raphinha's corner off target. City, though, set about securing three points, with Barnes having a shot blocked by Struijk deep in the Leeds box.

Lookman was unable to squeeze the ball through a glut of Leeds defenders approaching injury time, and then Tielemans arrowed into the arms of Meslier. Jesse Marsch's side were still dangerous, though, as Gelhardt struck into a crowd of Foxes, however City's defensive resurgence continued, and they were ultimately good value for all three points.

Major moment

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Harvey Barnes & Çağlar Söyüncü

Çağlar Söyüncü congratulates Harvey Barnes following the No.7's strike a King Power Stadium.

City's third 1-0 Premier League win of the season came courtesy of Harvey Barnes' 67th-minute attempt. Although Brendan Rodgers' outfit had seven attempts to Leeds' 19, they were clinical in front of goal, and it was an Academy graduate that made the difference with a typical finish.

Who impressed?

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Harvey Barnes

The Academy star celebrates goal no.8 of the 2021/22 season across all formats.

Speaking on LCFC Radio's Matchday Live, 2000 League Cup winner Matt Elliott said: "Man of the Match for Leicester, Çağlar Söyüncü and Daniel Amartey were both aggressive and Kasper Schmeichel played his part, but the man who made the difference was Harvey Barnes. He was a threat all game and he's coming into some really good form."

Where do we stand?

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Kelechi Iheanacho

The Nigeria striker came off the bench to assist Harvey Barnes' winning goal.

The Foxes are now 10th in the Premier League table after their 25th fixture of the campaign.

Coming up...

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Kasper Schmeichel

Denmark stopper Kasper Schmeichel wore a special Ukraine-themed captain's armband against Leeds United.

The first leg of City's UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 tie with Rennes takes place on Filbert Way on Thursday (8pm kick-off) ahead of a Premier League encounter with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday (4:30pm kick-off).

The details...

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