Stephy Mavididi

Mavididi Rockets Leicester To Victory In Huddersfield

Leicester City emerged with three hard-earned Sky Bet Championship points on Saturday afternoon, thanks to Stephy Mavididi's late winner at Huddersfield Town.
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A fraught second-tier encounter could easily have gone the way of the Terriers, but the visitors dug deep to extend their 100 per cent record at the start of the new season. Enzo Maresca's men are second in the early table with six points from two games. Maresca, who joined the Club in the summer, was pleased with the patience shown by his players – who had to wait until the 73rd minute for the breakthrough. 

"I just said to the players, one of the things we need this year is to be patient," the Italian said. "At the end, the chance will arrive. Today, between first half and second half, we had five or six clear chances to score. Some of them were one-on-one with the goalkeeper. I'm pleased with Stephy. He scored and gave us three points, but I think we completely deserved to win."

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Stephy Mavididi

Stephy Mavididi watches his shot squirm through the grasp of Lee Nicholls.

Ahead of kick-off, City’s players took the knee, reaffirming their commitment to eradicating discrimination of all forms from the game. Backed by 2,326 fans in the away end, the Foxes wore their Cambridge blue-striped black away kit for this trip to west Yorkshire. Kelechi Iheanacho was rewarded for his goalscoring outing at Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup with a start as well, replacing Jamie Vardy in attack. Goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk, on the other hand, also stayed in the XI to make his league debut for the Club. Mads Hermansen remains out with an injury but is expected to be back in contention soon. Dennis Praet and Wanya Marçal-Madivadua were the other players to come into Maresca's line-up. 

Leicester’s first substantial opening came their way on 13 minutes, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall threading a through-ball into City’s No.14. His shot took a deflection of Matty Pearson’s ankle and landed on the roof of the net. There was a decent intensity to the game. Leicester should really have been in front midway through the half as well, when Ricardo Pereira’s sumptuous forward ball pierced Huddersfield’s backline and invited Dennis Praet to gallop through the middle unchallenged. Nicholls raced off his line, however, and the Belgium international’s attempt was too close to the Terriers’ shot-stopper. Nicholls made a comfortable stop to palm Iheanacho’s low drive away later on, deflected off Tom Edwards. 

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Stephy Mavididi

A big moment for Leicester City's new No.10 as he celebrates his first goal for the Club.

With seven minutes until the break, it was Huddersfield’s turn to rue a gilt-edged opportunity when Michał Helik blazed Sorba Thomas’ low ball over the bar from six yards out. Iheanacho’s response was to run at the defence at the other end. His drive deflected off Helik and skidded into Mavididi’s feet. A flick from the former Montpellier forward gave Praet a chance to shoot, but Edwards’ last-ditch diving challenge diverted the ball behind. Iheanacho fired over before the interval too, when the home fans heartily applauded their side off. It had been 45 minutes of frustration for the Foxes, who couldn’t break through. 

Town emerged for the second half on the front foot, with Huddersfield's Danny Ward nodding Josh Ruffells' cross narrowly over. Diarra stung Stolarczyk's palms with a long-range hit minutes later. City's plan is to play through pressure, and they did just that in the 50th minute. Doyle's through ball cut through and Praet's deft touch would have evaded Nicholls and trickled over the line if not for Jack Rudoni spotting the danger and hacking the ball away. Leicester were slowly taking control of the game, but Huddersfield were standing firm. A brave header here, a last-minute deflection there, Neil Warnock's men were doing what they needed to – until the 73rd minute anyway.

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Enzo Maresca

Enzo Maresca delivers instructions to his players at John Smith's Stadium.

Nicholls, in the Huddersfield goal, will have been frustrated with City's goal. Mavididi cut inside, skipping past Edwards on the left of the area, before arrowing the ball inside the post. It had been a slog to get there, but the Foxes were finally in front, via Mavididi's first goal for the Club. It would have been frustrating if Pearson's header levelled it just three minutes later. Thankfully for Stolarczyk, mind you, it was directed straight into the Polish goalkeeper's chest. It was time for City to be brave, absorb the pressure and see out the win. The way they did that especially pleased Maresca.

"We started 40 days ago and I need to give them information," he explained. "You cannot give them all the information in 40 days. Defensively we’ve improved a lot. From throw-ins, corners, long balls, second balls, you need to learn how to manage these things. This was exactly the game I expected. [Huddersfield] were well organised, defensively deep. It was a line of four plus two midfielders, man-to-man with Kiernan. They were defending with six at times, so I’m pleased to win. I don’t believe in easy games, ever. It doesn’t exist for me."

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Blue Army

The travelling supporters toast City's third win in a row in all competitions.

Hamza Choudhury and Marc Albrighton were useful additions from the bench, supporting the impressive Wout Faes and Jannik Vestergaard at the back. The locals were baying for a late equaliser. Their calls went unanswered. Inside the first of five additional minutes, though, a chance came the visitors' way to put it to bed. Vardy scampered away, tucking the ball into Dewsbury-Hall. The Academy graduate dragged it back onto his left foot, but Nicholls did very well to divert it around the post. Leicester wouldn't come to regret it, though. It didn't come easy, but the first league win on the road is in the bag.

Leicester City Crest





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