Sam Greenwood’s stunning 83rd-minute free-kick was all that separated the two teams on Teesside, with City – still top of the Sky Bet Championship – suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time this season. Ipswich Town, in second, are now level on 39 points with Enzo Maresca’s side, who hold an advantage on goal difference over the Tractor Boys going into the final international break of the calendar year.
As a precursor to kick-off, a poignant moment of silence greeted the sounding of The Last Post in north Yorkshire, with all in attendance remembering service men and women of conflicts past and present on Armistice Day. Three changes to the XI from last Friday’s loss to Leeds United involved returns for Hamza Choudhury, Kasey McAteer and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Leicester City's players participate in a pre-minute silence on Armistice Day.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was in the thick of things early on for the Foxes, firing straight at Seny Dieng in the Boro goal on eight minutes. When the ball was later flashed across City’s area, Josh Coburn wasn’t able to get a leg onto it. Breaking away down the right channel, McAteer’s lofted ball into the box was nodded across goal by Dewsbury-Hall, although Dael Fry dealt with the danger well and hacked it away. Jonny Howson’s free-kick was then nodded over by Coburn despite having more room than he realised. The game was simmering away, with both sides creating openings early on in crisp sunshine.
Ricardo Pereira – wearing the captain’s armband for the day and in a more advanced position than usual – also had a decent opportunity when a loose ball fell into his path. The Boro backline, though, recovered quickly to delay his shot, which was eventually sent straight into Dieng. A burst down the left from Stephy Mavididi then opened Michael Carrick’s hosts up and he slipped the ball into Dewsbury-Hall, whose shot was deflected behind by Fry. From the corner, only an excellent diving save from Dieng prevented Jannik Vestergaard’s powerful header from bulging the net.
Stephy Mavididi tries to plot a route through for the Foxes.
Middlesbrough turned the screw just before the interval and will have felt hard done by not to be in front. After safely halting efforts from Isaiah Jones, Coburn and Matt Crooks, Mads Hermansen made two huge saves, the second in particular earning acclaim from both sets of supporters. The first one saw the Foxes stopper get down low to send Crooks’ side-footed drive behind for a corner. With the ball flying through the air shortly afterwards, Fry powered the ball towards the near top corner with his head, but Hermansen was somehow able to scoop it out and make a startling one-handed save. A gasp rung around the Riverside as Boro were denied an opener at the end of the half.
City had, though, paid a price for the pressure they'd soaked up, with Harry Winks’ fifth yellow card of the season coming late on in the half. The former Tottenham Hotspur man – who’s started every Leicester league game this term – will now miss the home bout with Watford in a fortnight.
Into the second half, it was becoming competitive in the middle. The tackles were flying in and space was opening up. That was particularly evident just after the hour when Dewsbury-Hall burst through the middle, played a one-two with Mavididi and let fly at goal. Hayden Hackney, however, threw himself in front of it and, although there were claims of handball from the 2,563-strong away end, nothing was given and the danger was averted for Boro. Abdul Fatawu, recently introduced from the bench, also lashed over from a tight angle as the Leicester pressure continued to build. Mavididi also dragged wide, shooting from left to right, and across the face of Dieng’s goal.
Kelechi Iheanacho watches his late effort come back off the near post.
The chances were coming for City. When Ricardo found himself alone in the box, the Portuguese gave it to Iheanacho, whose side-footed half-volley was grasped well by the Boro ‘keeper. The woodwork was rattling seconds later, in the 78th minute, as Ricardo again skidded a through-ball into the feet of Iheanacho. The Nigerian took a touch, with Fry for company in the box, and his chip came back off the post. Middlesbrough retained a threat on the counter and they were away shortly afterwards, until Choudhury – on his 100th LCFC appearance – brought him down on the edge of the Foxes' penalty area.
The locals were furious that referee Oliver Langford hadn’t allowed play to continue, but they were less perturbed when Greenwood stepped up himself to whip a magnificent free-kick into Hermansen’s top corner. The deadlock had finally been broken and it was the home supporters celebrating wildly. The introduction of Jamie Vardy late on offered another attacking outlet for Leicester, but Maresca's visitors were unable to break through a Boro side determined to hold on.
- Share via Facebook
- Share via Twitter
- Share via Email
- Share via Whatsapp
- Share via Facebook Messenger
คัดลอก URL ลงคลิปบอร์ด
URL copied to clipboard