Leicester maintain perfect record with hard fought victory over FC Copenhagen
Champions League, King Power Stadium: Leicester 1 (Mahrez 40') FC Copenhagen 0
Riyad Mahrez's first-half strike was enough for Leicester to secure a hard fought 1-0 victory over a determined FC Copenhagen.
Torrential rain and swirling wind didn’t help the flow of the game, as both teams struggled to cope with the conditions. The visitors looked dangerous early on, with their two big men up front – one of whom was former Cardiff striker Andreas Cornelius – causing all sorts of problems, but unlike their domestic endeavours, Leicester looked solid at the back.
Just before half time, out of nothing, Leicester took the lead through Mahrez. The Algeria international has now had a hand in four of Leicester’s five Champions League goals.
The second half was backs-to-the-wall time for Leicester, with their battling qualities tested to the full by the Danes, who pressed hard for an equaliser.
And right at the last, Kasper Schmeichel produced a stunning stop to make sure of the three points, which leaves the Foxes sitting pretty at the top of Group G, while Copenhagen tasted defeat for the first time this season in all competitions.
Why can’t Leicester defend like that in the league? Three wins, no goals conceded – Leicester are in continental dreamland. Domestically, the Premier League champions have looked fragile to say the least, especially from set pieces, but in Europe, they have looked as impenetrable as they did last season. With nine points already on the board, Claudio Ranieri must try and channel that defensive solidity into their domestic performances.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wes Morgan. The Leicester skipper took a knock in the first half, which would have ended the evening for mere mortals, but not Morgan. Despite limping his way around, Morgan marshalled the back line superbly, and showed tremendous strength when called upon.
33' - HALF CHANCE! Ball drops to Vardy on the edge of the box, seems to take an age to drop, the England international volleys at goal, but doesn't connect, the ball comes off his shin, and rolls into the arms of Olsen.
40' - GOAL! Leicester 1-0 FC Copenhagen. Mahrez is alert to steer the ball home. A goal out of nothing. Vardy's cross to the back post seemed innocuous and far too deep, but Slimani showed tremendous strength and desire to head the ball back across into the middle, and Mahrez beats his ball-watching marker to the loose ball to stab it past Olsen to break the deadlock. Made in Algeria, executed in Leicester.
43' - CLOSE! A good effort from Copenhagen as they look to equalise before the break as the ball falls to Toutouh from around 25 yards and he whips the ball towards goal, taking a nick off Morgan on the way through to go over the bar.
44' - EVEN CLOSER! From the resulting corner, Cornelius gets up highest to meet the ball, directs a header towards goal, but it flashes just wide.
64' - CHANCE! Mahrez carries the ball across the box, beats his last man, gets the shot away, which looks to be heading into the bottom corner, but Johanssen has got back to block the effort ahead of his goalkeeper.
67' - NO GOAL! Albrighton whips a superb cross into the middle, Slimani is denied by Olsen, but heads home at the second attempt, only to look across to see the lineman's flag raised.
82' - SAVE! Kvist fizzes an effort at goal from the edge of the box, but Schmeichel is down smartly to save and hold onto the ball.
86' - CLOSE! Santander gets up to meet a cross, heads at goal, but it is deflected over. Visitors are getting closer.
90' - MATCH-WINNING SAVE FROM SCHMEICHEL! Superb stop from the Dane to deny Cornelius, who had steered a low cross from Santander towards the bottom corner. Strong hand too, as as Schmeichel gets it away from danger. Incredible reflexes.
Leicester have more points in the Champions League this season (9) than they do in the Premier League.
Leicester are only the 5th side in Champions League history to win each of their first three games in the competition.
Copenhagen have never won an away game against English opposition in all competitions.