Abdul Fatawu, James Justin & Conor Coady

Fatawu's Stunner Seals FA Cup Quarter-Final Spot

A sensational extra-time hit from Abdul Fatawu sent Leicester City into the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Premier League side AFC Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium on Tuesday night.

A much-changed Foxes line-up were brave on the South Coast to end a two-game losing streak and put their name in the hat for Wednesday's last-eight draw. It was ultimately a barnstorming finish from second-half substitute Fatawu – his fourth goal of the season – which was the difference on 105 minutes as City go in search of a second FA Cup crown. The Sky Bet Championship leaders had to dig deep but can now approach Saturday's home clash with Queens Park Rangers with morale lifted ahead of a crucial juncture in their bid to make an immediate return to the Premier League.

Young midfielder Arjan Raikhy was handed a full Foxes debut in Bournemouth as Manager Enzo Maresca made nine changes to the XI which suffered a late defeat at Leeds United on Friday. Jannik Vestergaard – who’s yet to start a two-game league suspension – and Hamza Choudhury were the only players to remain. City made a decent start. Dennis Praet, making his 100th appearance for the Club, had an early sighter blocked. Yunus Akgün’s over-head kick was also scooped up by Mark Travers in the home net. It was the 1,932 travelling supporters from Leicester making the noise in the opening stages. Despite being without a league win since Boxing Day, the hosts sit in the relative safety of 14th in the Premier League, eight points clear of the drop zone. While 2021 FA Cup winners City have previously reached the last-eight 18 times, it’s been less fruitful for the Cherries, who were hoping to make only their third quarter-final appearance with a win. This is also the first season that Leicester have ever been a league below Bournemouth in the football pyramid, so naturally, with all that in mind, this would have been viewed as an opportunity to advance by Andoni Iraola’s top-flight outfit.

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Jakub Stolarczyk

Jakub Stolarczyk was impressive for the Foxes to earn a clean sheet.

Seven minutes in, they would have been ahead if not for Callum Doyle’s courageous intervention, hurling his body in the way to stop Enes Ünal’s acrobatic hit five yards out. The Turkish forward then whipped a free-kick from 25 yards over Jakub Stolarczyk’s crossbar. Another Ünal effort, a low first-time swipe, was later turned around the far post by Choudhury. Bournemouth were building. In truth, they should have been ahead on 22 minutes. Luis Sinisterra robbed Doyle of the ball on the right channel and sent it into the box, to the feet of Alex Scott. The former Bristol City midfielder, in a pocket of space all to himself, swung his boot at it and blazed over. Stolarczyk was called into action midway through the half as well, getting down to his right to stop Philip Billing’s daisy-cutter from outside the 18-yard box. He sent another over the top on the half-hour too. Leicester were absorbing pressure but always searching for a chance to pounce. One arrived minutes later when both Tom Cannon and Vestergaard found defenders in their way before Yunus’ header lacked the venom and accuracy required to truly concern Travers. Bournemouth nearly responded in the next phase of play, as Milos Kerkez’s low drive – always headed off target – was knocked wide by Ünal.

The home faithful breathed a sigh of relief with four minutes to go until the break. First, Cannon’s bullet header from Marc Albrighton’s corner was straight at Travers. Nonetheless, it was a considerable opportunity for the ex-Everton man. Getting closer, Albrighton then rattled the base of the post with a low arrow from range, before the Bournemouth ‘keeper had to fling his arm skywards to keep Wanya Marçal’s follow-up out of the net. It was Stolarczyk’s turn to palm away a header from a corner at the start of two added minutes, diverting Dango Outtara’s nod to safety. There had been reasons for encouragement and alarm in the first half, but nothing to show for it in either case. It was the South Coast hosts who emerged with most intent after the interval. The Foxes’ backline were pleased to see Marcos Senesi’s cross-turned-shot bounce off the post inside the first minutes. A storming gallop from Yunus down the right, meanwhile, offered the Galatasaray loanee a route to goal on 60 minutes, although Travers did well to save. The introductions of Fatawu and Kelechi Iheanacho offered new attacking avenues for Leicester in the final 25 minutes. Kerkez had to get his body in the way of Fatawu’s powerful drive shortly after the Ghanaian’s arrival. After darting up the other end, Kerkez soon enough was forcing Stolarczyk into a tricky stop at his near post. Choudhury hit the wall of red and black shirts in the box from distance later on, while Marçal sent one flying well over.

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Conor Coady & Abdul Fatawu

Abdul Fatawu races over to the Foxes faithful to toast his magnificent winner.

With four minutes of normal time still to play, a huge chance landed at Yunus’ feet, after a brilliant through-ball from Choudhury. The Turk waited a moment and looked up, but couldn’t keep it down. Substitute Ricardo Pereira also burst through the middle of the backline, although the ex-Porto full-back also skidded wide. Into extra-time, Kerkez deflected Praet's side-footed attempt over early on. James Justin, another player from the bench, then slid in to send Marcus Tavernier's shot from 20 yards behind. Vestergaard was then in the way of another drive from Billing. As legs began to tire, it was all becoming a little loose. It offered openings and City exploited it perfectly on the cusp of half-time in extra-time. Starting at the back with Stolarczyk, Maresca's men built through the thirds, with the ball eventually ending up with Fatawu on the right. The winger, on loan from Sporting Lisbon, cut inside and unleashed a startling finish into the top corner. Travers got a touch on it, but could do little else, and the Blue Army were singing Fatawu's name. Now the job was to preserve the lead. Romain Faivre curled wide for the Cherries after the restart and, with the home side pouring forwards, opportunities were there on the counter. In the 110th minute, Vestergaard was all alone in the box, but Travers was able to smother the Dane's attempted chip. Yunus then clipped Justin's low delivery into the side netting. In the end, Leicester had more than enough. One step closer to Wembley. 

Leicester City Crest





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