James Justin's 12th-minute header separated the sides on Filbert Way, as Enzo Maresca's men made it eight consecutive league wins, also opening up an eight-point advantage at the summit. With 12 wins in 13 matches, this is record-breaking form for City, who are also 14 points clear of third place. Not since the reign of King Edward VII has any team made such a start to a second-tier campaign. Bury (1894/95) and Bristol City (1905/06) are the only teams to have achieved the same feat as the Foxes this term after 13 matches. There are games in hand to consider when glancing the table, but there's no mistaking that Leicester's start to the new season has issued a stark warning to their rivals of their ambitions.
Before kick-off, a minute’s applause was observed to pay tribute to our beloved late Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha; pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz; and staff members Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare – who tragically passed away in a helicopter accident at King Power Stadium in October 2018. They will always be in our hearts.
The Foxes faithful pay tribute to the loved members of the Leicester City family we lost in 2018.
There were two changes to the XI with left Swansea City with a Club-record sixth successive away win on Saturday. In came Kelechi Iheanacho and Cesare Casadei, replacing Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi. The match got underway to the tune of a full Filbert Way signing Vichai Had A Dream, another tribute to the man who inspired the greatest era in Leicester City’s history. Within the opening 10 minutes, it was Tony Mowbray’s Black Cats who carved out the night’s first opening. Jack Clarke belted the ball from a tight angle straight at Mads Hermansen, who stayed strong to make the stop.
Shortly after, in the 12th minute, the league leaders were in front. It was a simple but effective corner routine which opened Sunderland up. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall whipped it into the box and, at the near post, there was Justin to nod the ball past Anthony Patterson. That was the England international’s sixth goal for the Club and his first since November of last year. Only Patterson’s right big toe prevented Stephy Mavididi from getting in on the act moments later. The former Montpelier winger danced past Trai Hume, unleashing a powerful low drive at the bottom corner. Patterson was just able to reroute it onto the base of the post for Sunderland.
James Justin is congratulated by his team-mates after netting City's winner.
Clarke tried again to catch Hermansen out just after the half hour. An outstretched leg of Wout Faes got a touch on his low daisy-cutter too, but the Danish ‘keeper watched it all the way and made another impressive save. The Black Cats’ woodwork was rattling again before the interval. Faes’ forward ball was headed down by Abdul Fatawu, directly into Iheanacho’s feet. The Nigerian shuffled on the spot for a second, before seeing his hit touched onto the far post by Patterson. Harry Winks’ long-range follow-up was well blocked as the visitors clung on. They appealed for a penalty later on, as Faes slid in to challenge Hume, but referee Keith Stroud was unmoved. Hermansen also dived across his goal to halt Daniel Ballard’s header.
Into the second half, Casadei was in acres of space in the area when he let fly at goal, but his effort was straight at Patterson. The Italian’s next effort, latching onto Winks’ squared ball, was more taxing for the Sunderland stopper, but he was able to hurl himself across goal to tip it behind. Jannik Vestergaard also believed he was owed a penalty, with Luke O’Nien holding onto his shirt in the 18-yard box. Stoud’s solution was to book both – much to the frustration of the Spion Kop. Casadei’s march down the middle afforded him the space he needed to thread a pass through to Iheanacho on the hour. The former Manchester City striker couldn’t apply enough curl on it, though, and it whistled wide.
City continue their excellent form with a 12th win in 13 league matches.
In the 66th minute, all four sides of King Power Stadium rose to their feet and applauded to celebrate the life of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the English game’s true greats and a winner of the World Cup with his country in 1966. The former Manchester United captain sadly passed away on Saturday. Sunderland continued to create chances as the game wore on. Neil robbed Winks of the ball, although he fired wide. Dennis Cirkin also blazed over after Abdoullah Ba’s impressive wing play. Hermansen did just enough to put Ba off in the 83rd minute too, with the Black Cats man hitting it over the bar. Late on, the Foxes had to dig in and defend stoically – an assignment they completed with flying colours. Leicester City march on in the Championship.
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