Leicester honour memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha with win at Cardiff
The Thai businessman and four others were killed in a helicopter crash last weekend.
Leicester honoured the memory of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha with a 1-0 win at Cardiff.
Demarai Gray claimed the 55th-minute winner to provoke an outpouring of emotion, both on the pitch and in the stand housing the visiting Leicester supporters, rarely seen in football.
Srivaddhanaprabha and four others were killed when his helicopter crashed just yards from the King Power Stadium after last Saturday’s game against West Ham.
The Leicester players had conducted their pre-match warm-up wearing white t-shirts bearing an image of Srivaddhanaprabha accompanied by the words ‘The Boss’ – the title the Thai businessman was known by at the club.
On the back were the words ‘Khun Vichai You Will Be Forever in Our Hearts’, and the same t-shirts were worn by Leicester fans populated behind one of the goals.
Cardiff laid a wreath before kick-off and a minute’s silence was impeccably observed as the entire Leicester staff joined the players on the centre circle to pay tribute to Srivaddhanaprabha.
There was a frantic start to the contest with Cardiff determined to play on the front foot and make life awkward for Leicester.
Kasper Schmeichel held Bobby Reid’s drive above his head and Leicester’s ability to defend high balls into their box was not helped by the departure of Harry Maguire, although his replacement Jonny Evans provided fine cover.
The England centre-back resumed after requiring treatment, but pulled up the next time he sprinted for a ball and had to be replaced.
The sight of Maguire limping off could be a concern for England manager Gareth Southgate with games against the United States and Croatia this month.
Cardiff’s Victor Camarasa went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when his free-kick struck the crossbar, but Leicester began to find their rhythm after the 30-minute mark.
Nampalys Mendy and Wilfried Ndidi had half-chances and Leicester felt they were denied a clear penalty in first-half stoppage-time.
Neil Etheridge thwarted both Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison, but the loose ball fell to Jamie Vardy and his goalbound effort was deflected onto the crossbar by the arm of Sol Bamba.
Leicester’s players surrounded Lee Probert demanding a penalty, but to their immense frustration the referee pointed for a corner instead.
Cardiff sought to make the most of their reprieve as Callum Paterson headed wide in a congested area and Schmeichel saved well from Josh Murphy.
Simply amazing. pic.twitter.com/eDsnrRSq1G— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 3, 2018
But Leicester went ahead went Ben Chilwell progressed down the left and Gray finished his cutback with a neat half-volley. The celebrations were tangible.
Gray took off his shirt to reveal a ‘For Khun Vichai’ top underneath and Schmeichel ran the length of the field to join a team celebration that was dripping with emotion.
The forward was duly booked under protocol for taking off his shirt, but the Leicester players did not care as they celebrated in front of their supporters.
That was for you, Khun Vichai. pic.twitter.com/6EUEjxRAjp— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 3, 2018
Leicester could have had more through Evans and Vardy, clean through but thwarted by the advancing Etheridge.
But tenacious defending dropped Cardiff back into the bottom three and preserved the victory that Leicester had craved in honour of Srivaddhanaprabha.