Wasteful Leicester suffer first Europa defeat but top spot still up for grabs

Date published: Thursday 3rd December 2020 7:58 - Neil Foster

Vladyslav Kabaev, Hamza Choudhury

Leicester failed to take their chances as a late strike by Allahyar Sayyadmanesh gave Zorya a 1-0 Europa League victory in Ukraine.

Brendan Rodgers made nine changes and switched his formation for the clash in Zaporizhzhia. Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu and Wilfed Ndidi started for the first time since their injury set-backs.

But Soyuncu lasted just 16 minutes before he suffered a groin injury and was replaced by Wesley Fofana.

The first half contained few clear-cut chances but on 22 minutes Cengiz Under tried his luck from distance. His effort flew just over the bar and he then shot wide after being put through by Harvey Barnes four minutes later.

The Foxes first real alarm came on the half-hour mark as they failed to clear their lines from a corner. The ball fell to Andrejs Ciganiks and his rasping shot was well saved by Danny Ward.

Pereira seemed to be harshly done by when yellow-carded for leaving an arm out when challenging for the ball. Kelechi Iheanacho followed him into the book four minutes before the interval for another innocuous-looking challenge.

Leicester failed to have a shot on target during the first 45 minutes and Rodgers will have been wanting more after the break. Six minutes after the interval, the Foxes could have been behind. Vladislav Kochergin’s superb cross from the left was met by Vladlen Yurchenko but his header crashed into the bar.

Zorya continued to boss the early second-half exchanges and looked the most likely to score.

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Subs have little impact

Leicester sub Luke Thomas, who replaced Ricard, injected some life. He put in a great cross 20 minutes into the second period but Iheanacho failed to connect with a diving header.

The visitors began to build pressure but there was not much of an end product to speak of. Nampalys Mendy and Christian Fuchs replaced Wilfred Ndidi and Wes Morgan but still there was no way through.

Fofana wasted a great chance on 75 minutes. Under’s free-kick picked out the Frenchman but he could not direct his header on goal.

James Maddison replaced Dennis Praet with 13 minutes to go as Rodgers pushed for a winner. The change had an instant impact as his shot was saved by Nikola Vasilj after Iheanacho’s effort had also been saved.

He then hit the side netting before the hosts took the lead with six minutes to go. Denis Favorov struck a low cross for Allahyar Sayyadmanesh to slide into the empty net.

The Foxes piled on more pressure as the clock ticked down but did not do enough to earn the points on a disappointing night.


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