Report: Lincoln City 1 Leicester City 3
- Claudio Ranieri takes charge of Leicester City for the first time in pre-season away at Lincoln City
- The Foxes record a 3-1 victory with goals from Riyad Mahrez, Andrej Kramarić and Jamie Vardy
- New signings Christian Fuchs, Shinji Okazaki and Robert Huth all play the opening 45 minutes
- Next up for Leicester is a trip to Mansfield Town on Saturday afternoon
Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City reign began with an impressive 3-1 victory over Lincoln City at Sincil Bank in their first pre-season outing on Tuesday night.
With two City teams playing a half each, it was a useful exercise for the Foxes, who alongside gaining some crucial match fitness also scored three excellent goals.
Lincoln’s Alan Power opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 10 minutes but the Foxes levelled courtesy of a neat finish from Riyad Mahrez to go in level at the break.
David Nugent, Jamie Vardy and Andrej Kramaric all shared chances after the break and it was the latter who would eventually make the breakthrough with a stunning 20-yard strike to give the Foxes a 2-1 lead.
Vardy then put the result beyond doubt in the final minute when he got a touch on an excellent Marc Albrighton ball to make it 3-1 and crown an excellent display to start City’s pre-season.
Summer signings Robert Huth, Chrstian Fuchs and Shinji Okazaki all started the first half for the Foxes. The Imps were to provide a stern test however, as Kasper Schmeichel discovered after just seven minutes when dangerman Power rifled a shot off Liam Moore and forced a brilliant low save at his bottom right corner.
Just three minutes later Power again looked for the same corner, but this time from the penalty spot after a close range effort struck an unfortunate Moore on the arm. Schmeichel did get a hand the resulting penalty, but this time he couldn’t prevent the ball crossing the line.
There was no panic from the Foxes though as they enjoyed several promising forays forward into the Lincoln half – Mahrez testing goalkeeper Paul Farman after a brilliant mazy run – but the hosts defended their goal well.
It wasn’t until the 33rd minute that City eventually broke the Lincoln resistance and it came from a lovely move. Leo Ulloa’s flick was chased down by Okazaki and the ball fell perfectly for the incoming Mahrez to slot beneath Farman for 1-1.
Dean Hammond teed Mahrez up for another shot on 41 minutes, but this time it went over while the back three of Huth, Fuchs and Moore did well to quell a late onslaught from the hosts keep things level at the break.
It was a clean sweep of 11 changes at half time for the Foxes but a continuation of the 3-5-2 system that they’d employed for the first 45 minutes.
Nugent was in the hole and soon linked up with Vardy to send a tricky volley over the bar, while Vardy himself saw a glancing header saved after a great ball in from Albrighton.
Jeffrey Schlupp looked as sharp as ever as he glided down the left side at ease while in defence, Academy Player of the Year Ben Chilwell looked composed next to the experienced Marcin Wasilewski.
The movement of Kramaric and Vardy in attack was causing Lincoln plenty of problems but when Albrighton again delivered a great ball from the right, it was Nugent who arrived at the far post to fire it just wide of the goal.
As the final 20 minutes approached the chances kept coming. Vardy forced a save down low at the ‘keeper’s feet, Nugent’s follow up was cleared off the line before Kramaric gathered but dragged his shot wide from 12 yards.
The Croatian then curled another wide of the same post while Vardy’s pace opened it up for a Nugent effort that Farman again saved, but just as it looked like frustration for the strikers, Kramaric came up with the goods.
He cut in on his right foot and hit an unstoppable swerving shot beyond the helpless goalkeeper to put Leicester 2-1 up, but the scoring wasn’t over.
Vardy was soon to get in on the act in the last minute of normal time as he darted into the box to get a telling touch on a drilled Albrighton cross and in the process seal a 3-1 victory for the Foxes in their pre-season opener.
LINCOLN:Farman, Wood, Stanley, Waterfall, Muldoon, Power, Rhead Howe, Simmons, Beevers, Sparrow
SUBS: Grant, Tempest, Bush, Hearn, Robinson, Everington, Hodge, Brown, Wright, Nolan, Harrad, Bignall
GOAL: Power 10 pen
CITY (First Half): Schmeichel, Moore, Huth, Fuchs, De Laet, Drinkwater, Hammond, Barmby, Mahrez, Ulloa, Okazaki
CITY (Second Half): Schwarzer, Simpson, Wasilewski, Chilwell, Albrighton, Lawrence, King, Schlupp, Nugent, Kramaric, Vardy
GOALS: Mahrez 33, Kramaric 80, Vardy 90
REFEREE: Mr. Darren Drysdale
ATTENDANCE: 3,693 (1,384 away)
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