Report: Celtic 1 Leicester City 1 (5-6 pens)
- Riyad Mahrez scored a superb goal to give the Foxes the lead just after the break
- Eoghan O’Connell equalised for Celtic shortly after
- The Foxes won 6-5 on penalties, with Kasper Schmeichel saving one from the spot
Leicester City earned two points from their opening International Champions Cup fixture after beating Celtic on penalties at Celtic Park on Saturday.
A stunning goal from man of the match Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring right at the start of the second period. But Celtic rallied and drew lever just before the hour mark through Eoghan O’Connell, who curled in from the edge of the box.
The clash finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and went straight to a penalty shootout in which second-half substitute Kasper Schmeichel proved to be the hero.
After Celtic converted all of their first five penalties and Christian Fuchs, Marcin Wasilewski, Danny Drinkwater, Ben Chilwell and Shinji Okazaki all scored their spot kicks, Schmeichel palmed away James Forrest’s effort from 12 yards, and Daniel Amartey stepped up to net the winner.
After a total of 22 City stars were in action in the 2-1 victory over Oxford United on Tuesday, Claudio Ranieri handed starts to summer signings Ron-Robert Zieler, Luis Hernandez and Nampalys Mendy, with Ahmed Musa also included in the squad as a substitute.
While Ranieri firmly laid emphasis on building up fitness and stamina throughout pre season, there was much excitement within the City camp heading into the fixture, as the Foxes began their thrilling International Champions Cup campaign in Glasgow.
Sporting the red away kit for the first time this pre season, City had an opportunity to open the scoring with just three minutes on the clock, as Drinkwater saw a shot blocked from Marc Albrighton’s cut back.
Celtic skipper Scott Brown dragged a shot harmlessly wide two minutes later, while City captain Wes Morgan also came close at the other end, as his header was blocked from close range.
A superb ball from midfielder Drinkwater set up another chance for City to take the lead, but Leonardo Ulloa couldn’t convert under pressure on 11 minutes.
Zieler then got down well to deny striker Lee Griffiths, before the stopper made an excellent save shortly after to turn away Moussa Dembele’s effort from deep in the City box.
A sublime first touch from Mahrez saw the Algeria international control the ball superbly, but after beating Emilio Izaguirre, the winger curled just inches wide of the mark.
Demarai Gray was next to threaten, as he cut inside before seeing his shot deflect just over the bar on the half-hour mark, before left back Chilwell popped up with a header from close range that Craig Gordon was equal to.
Zieler was called into action again just before the break, as the 2014 World Cup winner got a strong hand to Scott Brown’s powerful 20-yard free kick – goalless at the break.
Ranieri made four changes at half-time, bringing on Schmeichel, Jeff Schlupp, Danny Simpson and Ahmed Musa, and it took less than a minute of the second half for City to take the lead.
It was Mahrez – dazzling on the right wing throughout the match – who would break the deadlock, as he shifted the ball onto his left foot and bent a brilliant shot past Gordon.
Musa’s blistering pace set up another good opportunity on 54 minutes, as the Nigeria international beat the onrushing Gordon to the ball. Amartey received Musa’s pass and teed up substitute Schlupp, whose low drive deflected wide.
Celtic responded well and equalised just before the hour mark, as O’Connell pounced on a loose ball and curled in off the post from the edge of the box.
The Foxes made three more changes shortly after, bringing on Robert Huth, Wasilewski and Okazaki, as they looked to restore their lead.
And City came very close to doing just that with 67 minutes on the clock, but Musa couldn’t quite connect with Mahrez’s delivery across the face of goal.
Ranieri made his final substitute, bringing on Christian Fuchs with just under 20 minutes to play, but there was little to separate the two sides in the late stages, and the game went straight to penalties.
Both sides converted their first five penalties, with Fuchs, Wasilewski, Drinkwater, Chilwell and Okazaki all on target for the Foxes.
Then, Schmeichel turned away Forrest’s spot kick, before Amartey fired in the winner from the spot to seal two International Champions Cup points for his side.
City continue their International Champions Cup campaign on Saturday 30 July, when they take on Paris Saint-Germain at the Stub Hub Center in Los Angeles.
CELTIC: Gordon (Fasan 62), Janko, Lustig (Ambrose 46) O’Connell, Roberts (Forrest 62), McGregor (Johansen 62), Brown (c) (Allan 75), Armstrong (Christie 75), Izaguirre, Griffiths (Rogic 75), Dembele (Ciftci 62)
SUBS NOT USED: Fisher, Henderson
GOAL: O’Connell 59
CITY: Zieler (Schmeichel 46), Amartey, Hernandez (Huth 62), Morgan (c) (Wasilewski 62), Chilwell, Mahrez (Fuchs 71), Mendy (Simpson 46), Drinkwater, Albrighton (Schlupp 46), Gray (Musa 46), Ulloa (Okazaki 62)
GOAL: Mahrez 46
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