Kelechi Iheanacho

City Beaten In Season Opener At Old Trafford

Leicester City’s first game of the 2018/19 Premier League season ended in a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Friday night.
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Claude Puel handed maiden starts to attacker James Maddisonand winger Ricardo Pereira, while centre-back Harry Maguire played from the off against José Mourinho’s 20-time English champions.

A difficult start saw the hosts win a penalty inside two minutes, as Alexis Sanchez’s effort struck the arm of Daniel Amartey in the City area. Paul Pogba stepped up and sent the ball into the top corner to make it 1-0 a minute later.

Following that opener, City dominated and first went close through Wilfred Ndidi’s deflected strike, before Kelechi Iheanacho dragged wide from inside the box after good work from Demarai Gray.

Then, debutant Maddison forced a stunning stop out of David De Gea, as the Foxes No.10’s powerful drive was turned away in sensational fashion by the Spanish ‘keeper.

After the break, Mourinho’s side gained a foothold in the game and it became a much tighter affair. Puel recognised that Leicester needed fresh legs and the Frenchman turned to talisman Jamie Vardy and winger Rachid Ghezzal.

It was Vardy who would muster up City’s next major opportunity. The England international outmuscled Luke Shaw and delivered into Gray, whose close-range shot fell into the arms of De Gea.

At the other end, it was Kasper Schmeichel’s turn to make a brilliant save, as he somehow flicked substitute Romelu Lukaku’s low shot onto the top of the net with around 10 minutes to play.

For all of City’s promising play, they fell two goals behind on 83 minutes. Juan Mata picked out Shaw at the back post and left-back set himself before firing into the back of the net.

However, Puel’s side did not give up and halved the deficit in injury time. Ricardo’s cross hit the bottom of the post and Vardy was there to head home the loose ball in typically instinctive fashion.

The Foxes had a chance to claim a point at the death, but Schmeichel, up for the corner, flicked Ben Chilwell’s delivery wide.

Major moment

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Wes Morgan
Wes Morgan

Skipper Wes Morgan partnered Harry Maguire at the centre of defence for the Foxes.

Ultimately, Manchester United’s opening goal proved to be a blow for the Foxes, who looked the better side in the first period despite Paul Pogba’s spot-kick.

They had opportunities to equalise either side of the break, but when Luke Shaw made it 2-0, City’s task of claiming a positive result was made even more difficult.

While Jamie Vardy headed home in injury time, it simply wasn’t to be for Claude Puel’s valiant outfit.

Who impressed?

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James Maddison
James Maddison

James Maddison came close to a maiden Premier League goal after being denied by David De Gea in the first half.

Summer signing James Maddison has already earned plenty of plaudits in pre-season and on Friday night proved that he can also perform at the highest level.

He was unfortunate not to find the back of the net on his City debut, too, but came up against an in-form David De Gea, who is often hard to beat.

Coming up…

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Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy gets off the mark in the 2018/19 Premier League season after scoring a late header against Manchester United.

Leicester City’s maiden home game of the Premier League campaign kicks-off at 3pm on Saturday 18 August, with newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers visiting King Power Stadium.

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