Tuesday 25 July 2017

Vardy hits form to blow City away

Leicester 4 Manchester City2

Jamie Vardy celebrates with the match ball after his hat-trick for Leicester City in their 4-2 win over Manchester City yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Jamie Vardy celebrates with the match ball after his hat-trick for Leicester City in their 4-2 win over Manchester City yesterday. Photo: Getty Images

Paul Doyle

Leicester have performed like a wan tribute act for most of the domestic season but here they showed the qualities of which they are really made, and it was Manchester City who looked bogus. Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick as Claudio Ranieri's men blew away a Pep Guardiola side that lacked the mettle to go with their frilly pretensions. Late goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Nolito did not mask that.

This was a meeting of the faltering champions and the stuttering pre-season title favourites. Leicester began the game just one point above the relegation zone but it took just three minutes for the players to reward that faith. They opened the scoring after Robert Huth powered a header forward and Riyad Mahrez helped it on with a delicious flick to Islam Slimani, who threaded a nice pass through to Vardy. The striker, showing no evidence of a loss confidence following 15 games without a goal, lashed a low drive into the bottom corner.

Andy King celebrates with his team mates after scoring Leicester City's second goal in their 4-2 win over Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images
Andy King celebrates with his team mates after scoring Leicester City's second goal in their 4-2 win over Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images

Three minutes later Leicester increased their lead. Again Huth and Slimani were instrumental, the former heading on a throw-in to the latter, who laid the ball back to Andy King at the edge of the area. The midfielder struck it first-time into the top corner.

Leicester were playing with the vibrancy they have lacked for most of the season. The visitors were defending feebly, especially when Huth ventured into the box. In the 12th minute the German headed another long throw from Christian Fuchs on to Slimani, who volleyed wide from eight yards. City, intricately going nowhere, eventually forced Ron-Robert Zieler to make his first save of the match in the 19th minute. One minute later Leicester forced Claudio Bravo to pick the ball out of the net for the third time after a move of simple brilliance. Fuchs found Mahrez with a long pass from the back and the Algerian put Vardy through with another exquisite first-time pass. The striker raced around Bravo and scored.

For a Leicester side seeking to rediscover the straightforward virtues of last season, City were proving perfect opponents. They seemed surprised by Leicester's energy and directness, and confused by their own hifalutin' scheming.

Guardiola made no personnel changes at half time but City were far sharper on the resumption, coming close to reducing the deficit as Kelechi Iheanacho failed to connect with a cross from Jesus Navas, before Kevin De Bruyne then dragged a shot wide. Swift, imaginative interplay took City into Leicester's box again, before Iheanacho teed up lkay Gündogan, who shot wide. Guardiola introduced Raheem Sterling and Yaya Touré.

Leicester City's Robert Huth tracks Manchester City's David Silva. Photo: Getty Images
Leicester City's Robert Huth tracks Manchester City's David Silva. Photo: Getty Images

Pablo Zabaleta, operating in a puzzling free role, popped up on the edge of the box and curled a shot just wide. At the other end, Slimani barged past two defenders and forced a save from Bravo.

City lurched further into farce in the 78th minute, as John Stones played a backpass without looking. Vardy inflicted suitable punishment on his England colleague, intercepting and netting from an acute angle. Kolarov expertly converted a free-kick four minutes later, and crossed for to score from close range before the end, but those were footnotes in a story of renewed glory for Leicester and flawed plotting by City.

Observer

Sunday Indo Sport

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport