Kelechi Iheanacho

Iheanacho’s Double Seals Win At Lille

Kelechi Iheanacho was on target either side of half-time to help Leicester City defeat Lille OSC 2-1 in their last fixture of pre-season on Saturday.
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A final chance for Claude Puel - returning to the Club he managed for six seasons - to get a feel for his squad ahead of next week’s Premier League opener at Manchester United, as 19 Foxes took to the pitch at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Inside the opening minute, Kasper Schmeichel pulled off two excellent saves to deny Lille’s Jonathan Bamba and Lebo Mothiba – his second stop saw him display some stunning reflexes from point-blank range.

However, Mothiba found himself in a good position three minutes later and this time made no mistake, firing in from close range to put his side in front.

Wilfred Ndidi and Ben Chilwell both tried their luck shortly after, while Schmeichel was called into action just before the half-hour mark, tipping Yassine Benzia’s drive over the crossbar.

The Foxes were level just moments later. A fine delivery from Marc Albrighton was met by Iheanacho, who headed back across the face of goal to find the back of the net via the foot of Mike Maignan’s right-hand post.

City were dealt a blow after the break when the lively James Maddison was forced off after a heavy challenge from Lille defender Fodé Ballo-Touré, who was shown a yellow card for his troubles.

But, after some positive play, Puel’s men deservedly took the lead against his former side. Chilwell’s pin-point cross to the back post was tucked in by Iheanacho just before the hour-mark.

The same combination nearly saw the Nigeria international bag his hat-trick, but his header flew just over the bar – four goals in three games proved to be enough for Iheanacho, who came off on 72 minutes.

It was during that period, following another stop from Schmeichel, who halted Mothiba while one-on-one with the striker, that Puel began to change his side, introducing fresh legs in the closing stages.

Layton Ndukwu, a late replacement for Adrien Silva, came closest out of those substitutes, but after a neat one-two with young defender Josh Knight, he was dispossessed by Gabriel deep in the Lille box in injury time.

Major moment…

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho

The frontman directs his brilliant header onto the foot of the Lille post and in.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s equaliser came at a time when Leicester City were fighting to recover from the hosts’ early strike, which came courtesy of forward threat Lebo Mothiba.

While they weren’t at their best in the opening period, they grew into the game and were dominant after their first goal – it proved to be a real turning point in the entertaining encounter in northern France.

Who impressed?

First Team

Goals: Lille OSC 1 Leicester City 2

Watch all the goals as the Foxes finish their pre-season preparations with a victory in France.

Another brilliant display from Kelechi Iheanacho saw him take his pre-season goal tally to four goals in his last three games for the Foxes.

Strikes against Udinese and Valencia were followed by a superb header in the first half and a tidy finish after the interval.

His form has come at the perfect time for City, who will now prepare for a huge clash with José Mourinho’s Manchester United at Old Trafford on Friday.

Coming up…

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Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper Schmeichel and the rest of the Leicester City squad applaud the travelling fans at the full-time whistle in Lille.

Leicester City’s attentions now turn to their trip to Manchester to face the Red Devils (8pm BST kick-off) – a fixture that you can listen to live on LCFC Radio.

The details…

 

Lille: Maignan, Soumaoro (c), Fonte, Xeka, Benzia, Bamba, Celik, Mothiba, Pepe, Maia Alencar, Ballo Toure

Goal: Mothiba 4

City: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Morgan (c), Benalouane (Johnson 72), Amartey (Knight 83), Iborra (Silva 46 (Ndukwu 87)), Ndidi (Elder 72), Albrighton, Maddison (Diabaté 56), Ricardo (Fuchs 72), Iheanacho (Gordon 72)

Subs not used: Ward

Goals: Iheanacho 35, 59

Leicester City Crest

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