U21s Report: Leicester 3 Man City 2

Leicester City’s Development Squad came from 2-0 down to defeat Manchester City in their Barclays U21 Premier League clash at King Power Stadium on Wednesday.
The pulsating victory in City’s final game of the season was their seventh win in eight league matches, and moves them into fourth place – with only Manchester United and Manchester City in a position to deny them a play-off spot. 

A first half strike from Man City striker Devante Cole sent the visitors in with a 1-0 half time lead, before Olivier Ntcham doubled that advantage shortly after the interval. 

But Leicester produced a rousing recovery, with two strikes from skipper Tom Hopper either side of a fine header from Sean St Ledger enough to complete a sensational second half turnaround and clinch the three points. 

Development Squad boss Steve Beaglehole told LCFC.com after an eventful 90 minutes: “I don’t think we were at our best in the first half because our shape didn’t allow us to press as we have been doing, but in the second half Nicky Eaden and I wanted them to show what they were capable of. 

“We changed the shape to 4-4-2 and from then on we were brave and really took the game to them. We got back in it at 2-1, and I thought we could go on and get something from this. 

“Then we saw the spirit and desire to win shine through from the players, and the winning goal epitomised what we were all about. The ball looked to be going out, but Marcel Barrington was desperate to keep it in. He did, and Tom Hopper scored the winner.” 

Despite Man City having the better of possession in the early stages, it was Leicester who nearly cut through the visitors’ defence, when skipper Hopper broke free on the right-hand side, but couldn’t tee up strike partner Jacob Blyth. 

As the match came to life, Man City took the lead with 30 minutes on the clock, Cole cutting inside and curling a fine right-footed finish that nestled in the top corner from Shay Facey’s pass. 

The Foxes were quick to respond however, and could have been level less than a minute later, when Hopper expertly controlled a loose ball. 

The Leicester striker found himself with just ‘keeper Ian Lawlor to beat, but he was quick off his line and produced a smart save to thwart Hopper and prevent an instant equaliser. 

With the game beginning to open up, Man City had a fine chance to double their lead with 36 minutes on the clock. 

Sinan Bytyqi picked out the lively Cole at the back post, but the striker was denied by a fantastic last-ditch challenge from Leicester defender Alie Sesay. 

The second half started with a real intensity and it was Man City who capitalised - Olivier Ntcham doubling the visitors lead with 53 minutes on the clock. 

The City striker picked up a loose ball on the edge of the 18-yard box and produced an instinctive finish, driving across goal and into the far corner to make it 2-0 to the visitors. 

But Leicester rallied and pulled one back just a minute later as skipper Hopper produced a cool finish after Michael Cain’s free kick was headed back across goal by Blyth for 2-1. 

With Leicester pushing forward for an equaliser, they were rewarded with 83 minutes on the clock. St Ledger with a towering header that crept into the far corner after another fine delivery from Cain. 

But the Foxes weren’t content with a draw, and continued to pile on the pressure before taking a well-deserved 3-2 lead with just two minutes to go. 

Hopper was the man to get the goal; his of his second of the match, after another fine move, which saw Harry Panayiotou pick out substitute Barrington, who produced a neat flick across goal, leaving Hopper to slot home into an empty net to complete a stunning Leicester comeback. 

CITY: Smith, Sesay, Elder, McCourt (Cain, 45), St Ledger, Taft, Panayiotou, Watson, Blyth, Hopper (c), Dodoo (Dawson, 61) 

SUBS NOT USED: Frempah, Simpson 

GOALS: Hopper 54, 88, St Ledger 83, 

MAN CITY: Lawlor, Bossaerts (Ambrose, 90), Leigh, Facey (c) (Tasende, 45), Plummer, Glendon, Bytyqi, Fofana, Hiwula, Ntcham, Cole 

SUBS NOT USED: O’Brien, Byrne, Bryan 

GOALS: Cole 30, Ntcham 53

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