Stephy Mavididi

Leeds Reverse Ends City’s Winning Sequence

Leicester City’s nine-game Sky Bet Championship winning run came to an end with a 1-0 reverse to upwardly-mobile Leeds United at King Power Stadium on Friday night.
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Georginio Rutter’s 58th-minute effort from close range settled a close clash on Filbert Way, with Enzo Maresca’s home side unable to break through a stubborn defensive unit. Abdul Fatawu rattled the bar early on for City, who were also denied in added time when Illan Meslier made a stunning save to stop Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s header from hitting the net. The Foxes remain top of the Championship standings, however, staying five points clear of second-place Ipswich Town, and a further 11 ahead of Leeds in third. Their next outing takes them to the North East to take on Middlesbrough a week on Saturday.

A striking stadium-wide display was the pre-match setting – featuring cascading poppies on a white backdrop – for a poignant sounding of The Last Post as part of the Club’s Annual Remembrance Fixture. As usual, Foxes supporters, joined by those following Leeds, played their part in a moving tribute to service men and women past and present, raising money for the Royal British Legion. A raucous noise greeted the referee’s first whistle at King Power Stadium as City started with two changes from last weekend’s 2-1 success at Queens Park Rangers – with Wout Faes and Ricardo Pereira dropping into the XI. 

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King Power Stadium

A capacity crowd participates in a stunning tribute as part of the Club's Annual Remebrance Fixture.

The visitors from Yorkshire started brightest, outlining their intent against the leaders, with Joël Piroe curling wide after a high press reaped rewards for Daniel Farke’s men. Leicester were remaining calm, sticking to the plan, trying to build a foothold in the game, but struggling to plot a way through. James Justin leapt highest to get to Dewsbury-Hall’s corner but the England international couldn’t connect with the ball well enough to trouble Meslier in the Leeds net. Pressure from Harry Winks and Justin then delayed Rutter at the other end, as the Frenchman’s effort rolled into Mads Hermansen’s grasp. A loose touch from Cesare Casadei also made it hard for the Italian to get a shot away on the six-yard line. 

City were more settled on the half-hour and Stephy Mavididi was unfortunate not to see his hit deflect past Meslier when Joe Rodon got in the way of his charge into the box. The decibel level rose minutes later. First, Fatawu cut inside on the right channel and unleashed a terrific drive at goal, which cannoned back off the crossbar. Leeds quickly broke and felt they should have had a penalty when Ricardo stepped in to halt a Crysencio Summerville dash into the Foxes' box. Farke – in the away dugout – earned a yellow card for his protests after another challenge, from Casadei, on Summerville also yielded no intervention. Ethan Ampadu lashing wide was the last moment of note in the first half, with the sides locked in stalemate. 

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Abdul Fatawu

Abdul Fatawu was a menace throughout for Leicester.

Leeds came out on the front foot again in the second half, with Hermansen called into action to parry away Piroe’s stinger from the left side of the 18-yard box. Rutter’s low drive on the spin was a simpler assignment for the Dane moments later. A last-ditch scoop from Justin, to prod the ball away from Rutter, blocked his route to goal, but the Whites were knocking on the door. Leicester's league leaders were behind just before the hour. Daniel James’ corner was nodded at goal by Sam Byram, forcing Hermansen into an impressive stop, but he was helpless to prevent Rutter from converting the rebound into an empty net. 

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Enzo Maresca

Enzo Maresca thanks the supporters at full-time.

Leicester returned to their principles in the hunt for an equaliser, striving to keep the ball and play through the rearguard. Fatawu volleyed over before a sustained spell of City possession on the edge of the Leeds box. When Farke’s men did get the ball, usually they’d break with speed on the counter. One such instance required Hermansen to get down low to prevent James from scoring an excellent individual effort. Rodon then took the ball away from Faes just as the Belgian loomed down on the goal ready to head it past Meslier. Rodon also got a vital block in to touch Kelechi Iheanacho’s side-footed shot off course. In added time, Fatawu scampered down the wing and crossed it towards the back post, where Dewsbury-Hall was lurking. He got his head on it, too, but there was Meslier to scoop it out from under the bar – a stunning save to see out Leeds' win. The Foxes have worked hard to build a cushion at the top and it'll be a source of reassurance as they look to get back on track over the coming weeks. There's still eight opportunities to build on their astonishing points tally this side of Christmas.

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