City Held By Bees In Premier League Opener
In front of a capacity home crowd, superbly-worked goals from Timothy Castagne and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall had the Foxes 2-0 up, but Ivan Toney and Josh Dasilva secured a comeback draw for the visitors.
The new incumbent of the no.1 shirt, Danny Ward, started in goal to make his home Premier League debut for the Club behind a back three that included new skipper Jonny Evans. Midfield quartet Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Dewsbury-Hall supported City's all-time leading Premier League goalscorer, Jamie Vardy, in attack.
After a 77-day absence of Premier League football, the Blue Army were back on Filbert Way to watch their team in England's top flight – their ninth consecutive in the nation's most prestigious division since promotion in 2014. Four straight victories brought to a close Leicester's pre-season campaign, and a sun-drenched King Power Stadium welcomed back the men head-to-toe in blue.
Leicester were able to dominate possession of the ball, so much so that their defenders made plenty of ground in the opening stages. That meant left centre-back Daniel Amartey took aim from range on six minutes, driving just wide from around 30 yards.
The first test for Ward came shortly after, with the Wales shot-stopper ably clinging onto Bryan Mbeumo's volley at the near post. Those positioned in the South Stand unleashed a crackle of applause in support of the No.1, impressed by what they had seen from him so far.
Not averse to a stunner against Brentford, Belgium midfielder Tielemans smashed an attempt towards goal that David Raya was equal to inside the opening quarter of an hour.
City were still the more dangerous of the two sides, with Castagne whipping a cross into Dewsbury-Hall, only for Vitaly Janelt to make a last-ditch clearance to prevent the Academy graduate a clear goalscoring opportunity inside the six-yard box.
On 18 minutes, Ward was tasked with closing down Toney, now one-on-one with the 'keeper after touching the ball into his own path. Out he came, smothering the striker's advances and disarming a man who'd netted 12 Premier League goals in 2021/22.
More positive forward play from the hosts saw an irresistible pass from Tielemans land on the head of Maddison on the penalty spot. He did incredibly well to steer his glanced effort towards goal, however it bounced narrowly wide and Raya was untroubled.
Although a lull followed, Leicester were looking more likely to open the scoring and that's exactly what happened on 34 minutes. Maddison's delightful corner was met by Castagne's run across goal, the Belgium full-back flicking in also already scored on the opening day of the 2020/21 season. Joy for the sell-out home crowd as Castagne raced over to the flag and quadrant to thank Maddison for his set-play quality.
With five minutes still to play in the first half, Maddison drilled a sweet volley towards Raya, who was equal to the shot. Then, Tielemans struck the upright having beaten Raya, and Dewsbury-Hall and Maddison were unable to convert the loose ball. City were 1-0 ahead at the interval.
Just 30 seconds into the second period, City doubled their advantage through a Dewsbury-Hall stunner. Vardy touched the ball into the No.22's path, and he did the rest, slamming a daisy-cutter in off the foot of Raya's left-hand post. 'You're my Dewsbury-Hall' bellowed around King Power Stadium, Leicester were back.
From a similar distance, Maddison offloaded the ball to Tielemans, who set himself and fired on target, however Raya got down to hold onto the ball. Brentford were still a threat, though, as Wissa bent wide on 54 minutes – Ward was happy to watch it fly harmlessly away from his net.
There was little the Wales goalkeeper could do about Toney's strike on 62 minutes. Rico Henry clipped the ball into the frontman, who brought it under control before slamming into the net for 2-1.
The Foxes almost immediately restored their two-goal lead, with Maddison's free-kick being nodded onto the post by Wesley Fofana. A useful challenge from Ghana international defender Amartey to halt a low cross then prevented Toney from being located in the six-yard box.
City's first substitution of the match came on 72 minutes, with goalscorer Dewsbury-Hall making way in place of Zambia striker Patson Daka, who donned the no.20 shirt for the first time. Shortly after, Yoane Wissa smashed well wide of Ward's goal, and Toney headed off target at the far post as Leicester defender their lead.
But the Foxes were undone for a second time with four minutes remaining, as substitute Dasilva curled in from 20 yards with his left foot to make it 2-2.
A powerful strike from Tielemans in injury time threatened an equaliser, however it sailed wide, and Maddison had a shot blocked by substitute Shandon Baptiste, as the game finished level in Leicester.
Major moment – Dasilva restores parity
The Foxes applaud the Blue Army at full-time on Filbert Way.
City were deservedly two goals to the good through Timothy Castagne's header and a special strike from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, but Ivan Toney pulled one back before Josh Dasilva scored a stylish equaliser to ensure the spoils were shared.
Who impressed? – Maddison impresses
The Foxes No.10 assisted Timothy Castagne for the opener, and was named as Gerry Taggart's Man of the Match in the draw with the Bees.
Tasked with selecting his Man of the Match, Gerry Taggart told Matchday Live: "The way James Maddison controlled the ball, and how he operated in midfield and got the assist, means he just about shades it for me as Man of the Match over Youri Tielemans."
Where do we stand? – 10th position
Youri Tielemans rises high in an aerial challenge in the 2-2 draw with Brentford.
After matchday no.1 of the 2022/23 Premier League season, City are 10th in the division.
Coming up – Arsenal (A)
The Wales international made his home Premier League debut for Leicester City on Sunday.
A visit to Emirates Stadium to tackle Mikel Arteta's Arsenal comes on Saturday (3pm kick-off), before City return to King Power Stadium to face Southampton seven days later (3pm kick-off).
All times BST.
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