After Rodrigo Bentancur had put Spurs ahead, a stunning, first-ever LCFC goal for Papy Mendy and stand-in captain James Maddison's tidy finish completed a two-minute comeback. Kelechi Iheanacho and Harvey Barnes also netted for a resurgent City side. Ricardo Pereira, on the other hand, appeared from the bench late on after six months out with an Achilles injury to wrap up a memorable occasion and help his side see out well deserved three points on Filbert Way.
It was a frantic start – offering a glimpse of what was to come. Home debuts for Harry Souttar, Victor Kristiansen and Tetê were a welcome boost for a packed King Power Stadium at kick-off. Leicester, though, got themselves in a twist just seconds into this clash. They almost paid a harsh price too, but Bentancur blazed well over the bar. Maddison also curled a free-kick wide of Fraser Forster’s net moments later – as the ex-England stopper deputised for the injured Hugo Lloris.
On 11 minutes, a marvellous one-touch wide ball from Harry Kane played Ivan Perišić into a large pocket of space. Thankfully, Danny Ward was able to watch it fizz wide. City’s No.1 was also later called upon to tip the Croat’s free-kick over. The north Londoners were beginning to stir and they’d be ahead moments later, with Bentancur poking the ball into the net at the near post. A lengthy VAR check had the visitors sweating, but an onside call was confirmed, citing the tightest of margins.
An electrifying bolt out of the blue – from an unlikely source – ignited Leicester’s comeback. When the ball bobbled wide to Mendy, nobody expected the 5ft 6ins Senegal midfielder to shoot, yet alone score. The next thing Forster knew, it was whizzing past his left shoulder, rocketing into the top corner. From the restart, the relentless Foxes marched onwards. Inside two minutes, a one-goal deficit had become a 2-1 advantage – Maddison applying the finish to a vintage Leicester counter.
Wout Faes dived into a magnificent challenge on the half-way line, the momentum firing the ball forwards and into the feet of Kelechi Iheanacho, on the edge of the box. He twisted his body and slipped it though to Maddison for a simple finish. Filbert Way was bouncing – this is the Leicester City we all know and love. It’s been a tough year in many respects, but the injection of fresh blood and continuous hard work is reaping its rewards for Brendan Rodgers and his troops.
Kristiansen’s last-ditch challenge on Dejan Kulusevski – about to pull the trigger in the box – kept Spurs at bay at the outset of four added minutes. Just as the half was fading away, Tottenham switched off, Souttar booted the ball upfield, and Iheanacho skipped past Eric Dier – delightfully picking out the bottom corner. The roar at half-time let the Foxes players know what the Blue Army thought. Arguably City’s best half of football this season had ended with them 3-1 up.
The match was set against two important backdrops on Saturday. Both sets of players were wearing black armbands throughout the afternoon on Filbert Way, in a mark of respect to those affected by the horrendous earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The two teams also took the knee before kick-off to reaffirm their support for the Premier League’s No Room For Racism initiative.
The pace of the first half, meanwhile, continued into the second, with Barnes arrowing a one-touch shot straight at Forster. Ward then leapt bravely to claim Perišić’s corner. Antonio Conte, who has recently undergone gallbladder surgery in Turin, was back on the sidelines for Spurs, with Cristian Stellini continuing to take a hands-on role in the away technical area. It was turning into frustrating afternoon for the respected Italian manager on his return to a Premier League matchday.
It nearly got worse when Barnes' cross was nodded narrowly wide by Iheanacho. There was a VAR reprieve for Conte's men, too, when Barnes strayed offside before sweeping the ball into Forster's bottom corner. Since City's top-flight return in 2014, no fixture has seen more goals (now 76) than Leicester-Tottenham. A raft of changes from both sides and injury hold-ups had taken the sting out of the game midway through the second half – until Barnes deservedly got his name on the scoresheet.
It was a typically smart finish from the Academy graduate – launched from the edge of the box and into the corner after collecting Maddison's pass. Barnes has turned his form a full 180 in recent weeks. One of the loudest cheers of the day came later, as Ricardo made his return from a six-month lay-off. It was the cherry on the cake for the Foxes, who were worthy winners. Their mid-season revival continues.
Major moment – The Foxes fightback
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's face says it all after Papy Mendy's strike.
The blistering nature of Leicester's response to going behind, seeing Papy Mendy and then James Maddison stun Spurs, completely turned the match on its head. Within seconds, City were on the front foot, plotting a course to victory.
Who impressed? – Papy Mendy
It was a special occasion for Papy Mendy.
Former Foxes defender Gerry Taggart, speaking live on LCFC Radio, said: "I have to give it to Papy Mendy. What a goal from him! It got Leicester back on track and got them going again."
Where do we stand? – 13th in the table
James Maddison toasts the win with Alan 'The Birch' Birchenall.
Leicester climb to 13th in the Premier League, taking their points tally to 24, with a goal difference of -2.
Coming up – Man Utd (A)
Harvey Barnes finishes off the scoring for Leicester.
It’s a trip to Old Trafford next for City, taking on Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United in the Premier League next Sunday (2pm kick-off). Leaders Arsenal are then due at King Power Stadium on Saturday 25 February (3pm kick-off). All times GMT.
- Share via Facebook
- Share via Twitter
- Share via Email
- Share via Whatsapp
- Share via Facebook Messenger
คัดลอก URL ลงคลิปบอร์ด
URL copied to clipboard