Late Success Over Sparta Prague For City's Under-23s
There were five changes in City’s starting XI following last Friday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City in Premier League 2 Division 1, as Viktor Johansson, Andy King, Callum Wright, Khanya Leshabela and Matty James, returning from injury, came into the side.
The Czech visitors, meanwhile, also elected to make five alterations of their own following a 8-0 defeat by Feyenoord at Aldershot Town’s EBB Stadium on Monday evening.
While Felix Čejka forced young Foxes stopper Johansson into a smart save from distance early on, the best chance of the opening 25 minutes fell at the feet of young forward Leshabela.
However, the South African, who was on City’s senior bench for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup success over Southampton at King Power Stadium, was denied by Sparta goalkeeper Martin Janáček.
Despite the best efforts of both sides to forge goalscoring opportunities, the first half was more memorable for bookings as the names of Darnell Johnson, Tyrese Shade, as well as visiting duo Marian Burda and Ondřej Novotný, were put into referee Richard Hulme’s book.
In Brief: Leicester City U23s 1 Sparta Prague B 0
The most notable moments from the Development Squad's 1-0 success over Sparta Prague B in the Premier League International Cup.
With Foxes boss Claude Puel, midfielder James Maddison and loan duo Harvey Barnes and George Thomas, at West Bromwich Albion and Scunthorpe United respectively, the second half proved more eventful.
The best chance of the entire game, up until that point at least, came City’s way just after the hour-mark as Callum Elder crossed for Wright, but the former Blackburn Rovers man nodded wide.
While Alex Pascanu had a headed goal disallowed for a push, Johnson was unfortunate not to find the back of the net with an ambitious long-range effort from the edge of the box.
Leicester’s patience, though, would eventually pay off as second half substitute Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall played a wonderful cross for Knight - who finished the match as a centre forward - to open the scoring with a tidy finish six minutes from the end.
The hosts were able to protect their slender lead, too, as a first Premier League International Cup victory improved their changes of progression immensely.
Puel will also have been delighted to see James complete his first full 90 minutes since March so competently in the heart of midfield.
South African Khanya Leshabela was useful for the Foxes just behind the front two.
In the opening stages, following his maiden appearance on a senior teamsheet, young midfielder Khanya Leshabela was a menace for the Czech visitors on several occasions.
Operating at the top of a midfield diamond, which was built on the foundations of Matty James just in front of the back four, the talented South African took advantage of the chance to express himself in the middle.
Where does it leave us?
The Foxes climb up to third in Group B, with three points from two matches, but trail Feyenoord, on the same points tally, by seven on goal difference.
City midfielder James Maddison, along with Sam Hughes and George Thomas, watches on at Holmes Park.
Following the postponement of the Premier League Cup tie against Exeter City, scheduled for Monday night, City’s next outing is away at Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday 10 December in Premier League 2 Division 1 (7pm GMT kick-off) – which is live on LCFC TV.
City: Johansson, Johnson, Elder, James, Knight, Pascanu, Choudhury (c) (Dewsbury-Hall 45), King, Shade (Ughelumba 79), Wright (Tee 76), Leshabela
Subs not used: Kaba Sherif, Davies, L. Thomas
Goal: Knight 84
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