Leonardo Ulloa

Six Opening Day Goalscoring Debutants

Recalling the players who made it a Leicester City debut to remember on the opening weekend of a new season in years gone by.
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From full-backs to strikers, plenty of Foxes have become an instant hero with the Blue Army and etched their name into Leicester folklore. Here we take a look at some of those stories, ahead of the 2024/25 Premier League fixture list being released at 9am on Tuesday…

Timothy Castagne

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Timothy Castagne
Timothy Castagne

Heading in at the Hawthorns.

The Belgian full-back, who joined from Serie A side Atalanta in September 2020, was immediately handed his debut as the new Premier League season started with a trip to West Bromwich Albion.

Played behind closed doors at The Hawthorns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the visitors hit three second-half goals to claim the points on the opening day of the 2020/21 campaign. Castagne kicked things off by heading home compatriot Dennis Praet’s looping cross 10 minutes after the interval and a Jamie Vardy double from the spot secured the 3-0 success.

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Timothy Castagne
Timothy Castagne

Debut delight for the Belgian.

The defender became the fifth Belgian to score on his Premier League debut, joining Luc Nilis, Thomas Vermaelen, Christian Benteke and Leandro Trossard, as he helped City to a fifth place finish that term.

Castagne, who is now closing in on a half century of international caps, went on to play 112 times for the Foxes, winning the FA Cup at the end of his first season, before joining Fulham in the summer of 2023.

Leonardo Ulloa

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Leonardo Ulloa
Leonardo Ulloa

A great angle of his first Foxes goal.

Back in August 2014, King Power Stadium was readying to host its first Premier League game in a decade, following Leicester’s promotion from the second tier as champions under the management of Nigel Pearson.

His side contained several new names, one of those Argentine forward Ulloa, signed from Brighton & Hove Albion for a reported £8M, lining up alongside David Nugent in attack, for the visit of Everton.

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Leicester City
Leicester City

Ulloa is mobbed by his team-mates after netting the leveller.

A topsy-turvy affair played out on Filbert Way, Aiden McGeady broke the deadlock for the Toffees, prior to Ulloa almost instantly firing City back on level terms via a powerful strike inside the area, after Everton failed to clear a corner.

Steven Naismith saw the away side enter half-time back in front, before Ulloa’s replacement, Chris Wood, beat Tim Howard late on to earn a share of the spoils. It was a season which would end with the newly promoted Foxes preserving their league status, despite being bottom of the table at Christmas.

Part of the title-winning squad of 2015/16, Ulloa remained a Leicester player until 2018, making just over a century of appearances and scoring 20 goals for the Club – 18 of those coming in the Premier League.

Lee Peltier

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Lee Peltier
Lee Peltier

What a way to mark his Leicester City bow.

The fixture calendar threw up a meeting with Midlands rivals Coventry City at the start of the 2011/12 campaign and the first M69 derby of the season would take place at the Sky Blues’ home.

Just the one goal separated the sides and it was an unlikely goalscoring source on the day. Full-back Peltier, signed from Huddersfield Town in the summer after the Terriers narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship via the play-offs, was making his Foxes bow for Manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.

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Lee Peltier
Lee Peltier

Smiles all round in Coventry.

Both sides had a man sent off in the first 45, Darius Vassell shown a straight red card before Coventry’s Carl Baker followed him in taking an early bath to even back up the numbers.  

That perhaps left a little more space in the box for Peltier, who leapt highest to power home a header from Ritchie Wellens’ out-swinging free-kick shortly after half-time, finding the bottom corner before a huge pile-on ensued in celebration.

The Liverpool-born defender made close to 50 appearances for the Club in his one season at King Power Stadium, ahead of moving to Leeds United in the summer.

Martyn Waghorn & Dany N'Guessan 

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Martyn Waghorn
Martyn Waghorn

Waghorn up and running on home soil.

You don’t often get two debutants scoring in the same game but that’s exactly what happened on the opening day of the 2009/10 season. A goal down to Swansea City, led by future Foxes manager Paulo Sousa, courtesy of Ashley Williams’ header, Steve Howard missed the chance to level matters from the spot.

Filbert Way was then treated to a sensational passage of play as half-time substitute Waghorn’s shot deflected in off Williams before N’Guessan, who also emerged at the break for his Leicester bow, completed the comeback by flicking home the winner, meeting Howard’s knock-down just three minutes after the equaliser.

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Dany N'Guessan
Dany N'Guessan

Super sub N'Guessan joins the party.

Nigel Pearson’s men, newly promoted from League 1, eventually finished the season in fifth, losing out to Cardiff City in the play-offs semi-finals. Waghorn, who had joined on loan from Sunderland, made his move permanent the following summer, managing 20 goals and 13 assists across 116 appearances for the Club.

Frenchman N’Guessan, meanwhile, also scored on his full debut less than a week later in the League Cup, finding the net six times in total across the campaign, before loans at Scunthorpe United, Southampton and Millwall.

Les Ferdinand

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Les Ferdinand
Les Ferdinand

An aerial threat for the Foxes.

A Premier League icon, former England international Les Ferdinand arrived on Filbert Way as a 37-year-old, with many expecting his best days to be well behind him.

Signed on a free transfer from West Ham United, an instant impact from the ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United forward came just 10 minutes in his Foxes debut, against Southampton in August 2003.

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Les Ferdinand
Les Ferdinand

'Sir Les' ended the season as LCFC’s Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year.

Already a goal to the good courtesy of Paul Dickov’s penalty, his strike partner, who had won the earlier spot-kick, soon doubled the advantage. Ian Walker’s long punt forward was chased down by James Scowcroft and his teasing delivery from the byline was subsequently met by the onrushing Ferdinand, who emphatically powered home just the second Premier League goal to be scored at King Power Stadium, taking a blow for his troubles.

Kevin Phillips and James Beattie saw the Saints force their way back into contention and the game finished 2-2, but it was not the end of Ferdinand’s goalscoring exploits for City, managing 13 goals during his only season in Leicester blue. 

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