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VAR history as offside is overturned in Foxes' goal

Video grab taken from BT Sport of the incident leading to Leicester City’s second goal which was initially given as offside but then overturned under VAR review during the FA Cup Replay at the King
Power Stadium. Photo: PA
Video grab taken from BT Sport of the incident leading to Leicester City’s second goal which was initially given as offside but then overturned under VAR review during the FA Cup Replay at the King Power Stadium. Photo: PA

Jon Culley

Anyone who came to the King Power Stadium expecting a dramatic night in the traditional sense will have gone home disappointed as Leicester eased through what turned out to be a rather tepid third-round replay.

It did, however, provide English football with its first goal awarded by the Video Assistant Referee after the second of Kelechi Iheanacho's two goals on the night was given after an offside decision was overruled.

It came after 77 minutes when Riyad Mahrez's pass gave assistant referee Lee Betts a marginal call to which he responded by raising his flag.

But after a lengthy pause listening to the advice of VAR Michael Jones from a studio in London, referee Jonathan Moss made the TV screen shape with his hands and signalled a goal.

The delay meant the moment was diluted in terms of spontaneous celebration, but it was the right decision.

Fleetwood Town manager Uwe Rosler adopted a conservative approach based on a well-organised defence with the knowledge that the likes of Jordy Hiwula and Conor McAleny had the pace to stretch Leicester on the counter-attack.

Indeed, the contest was more than 20 minutes old before either side attempted anything that could be described as a shot and. when one did come, it was from a Fleetwood player, McAleny stretching Eldin Jakupovic.

With the "Cod Army" contingent comfortably outsinging the home supporters in a thin crowd, the visitors now became more ambitious and they were close to taking the lead after 36 minutes, when Hunter and Hiwula worked a shooting chance for Kyle Dempsey, whose clean strike from the edge of the box would have gone in but for Jakupovic extending an arm to tip it over the bar.

Yet it was Leicester who reached half-time in front. Islam Slimani and Kelechi Iheanacho may not represent a first-choice front two, yet they did cost £54 million between them and they combined to break the deadlock in the 43rd minute.

Misfit

Slimani seized on a poor header by defender Cian Bolger to release Iheanacho with an instant ball over the top. Former Manchester City striker Iheanacho has looked something of a misfit since his move to Leicester last summer, with only two Premier League starts so far.

Yet the way he took his chance here was a reminder of the qualities that stood out for a while at the Etihad, reacting to the pass with a well-timed run and simply guiding the ball past Chris Neal.

It was only his second goal as a Leicester player, the first having come in an EFL Cup tie last October. That moment apart, though, a Leicester side showing eight changes from the weekend had been unimpressive, and it showed on the face of manager Claude Puel in the technical area.

Riyad Mahrez, wearing the captain's armband for the first time as one of the three retained from the draw at Chelsea, had a quiet first half and wasted his best opportunity with a free-kick just outside the box.

Puel had plenty in reserve, however, with Jamie Vardy among those on the bench and, having missed the first match through injury, eager for a run-out against the team that launched his rise to stardom.

Had it not been for Iheanacho, the Frenchman might have spent half-time wondering how quickly he should make changes.

In the event, his team started the second half on the front foot and should have doubled their lead, but Slimani mis-hit a volley from a good pass by Iheanacho in what would be his last act of note before Puel did make a change, although it was Marc Albrighton rather than Vardy who replaced him 10 minutes after the restart.

Fleetwood offered little as an attacking threat in the second half. Vardy was granted his wish with a 10-minute cameo, by which time Iheanacho, who initially seemed to have no quarrel that his second "goal" had not counted, had played his part in history. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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