Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick as Leicester City stormed to the top of the Premier League table with a stunning 5-2 victory at Manchester City.
The former England man once again proved to be Pep Guardiola’s tormentor-in-chief as the Foxes made it three wins from three and condemned the Citizens to a first defeat in an opening home match in the top-flight since 1989-90.
It never looked on the cards in the early stages when the hosts got off to a sensational start. Former Foxes star, Riyad Mahrez rifled an unstoppable shot into the top corner from a half-cleared left-wing corner on four minutes.
Leicester struggled to get out of their half for long periods, but slowly worked their way back into it and were handed a lifeline when Kyle Walker tripped Vardy. The forward stepped up and duly crashed home the penalty to level eight minutes prior to the interval.
Brendan Rodgers’ men continued to grow in confidence and they soon turned the tables on their hosts, with Vardy the architect of their triumph. First he flicked home a delicious near-post finish before winning and converting another spot-kick to put the away side in dreamland.
Substitute James Maddison added a fourth with a delightful curler before Nathan Ake reduced the arrears with his first City goal.
However, the Foxes capped a five-star showing two minutes from time when Youri Tielemans converted their third penalty of the evening.
Manchester City will need to react quickly as they turn their focus to Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie at Burnley before Premier League duty resumes with a trip to newly-promoted Leeds United on Saturday. In-form Leicester host West Ham on Sunday.
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Man City still have the same problems while the Foxes ride high again. Guardiola made much of the fact he was missing a number of players ahead of this encounter, but he still named a starting XI that most clubs would love to have. The Citizens overwhelmingly dominated the first half, but fell apart once Vardy took centre stage in a four-minute burst after the break.
The truth is that the defensive frailties that hindered their title bid last season were there for all to see once again, with three defenders guilty of each conceding a penalty. It’s very early days in terms of the title race, but Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool players will have been buoyed by this result and City need to respond fast – both on the pitch and quite possibly in the transfer market, such was the horrific manner of this loss. The defence was woeful and the attack struggled without Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
As for Leicester, it’s a perfect start to the new campaign after the disappointment of last season when a poor finish saw them miss out on the Champions League. It was a first away win at Man City for Rodgers as a manager at the eighth time of asking, but he'll be keen not to get too carried away given how well it went in the first few months last term.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City). The striker was rarely involved, but his impact was sensational when he did come to life. He won both of the penalties he converted and gave his team a 2-1 lead with a brilliant flick. His only frustration will be that he had been substituted by the time the visitors' third spot kick of the game was awarded. Guardiola will quite rightly be sick of the sight of him.
MAN CITY: Emerson 6, Walker 5, Ake 6, Garcia 5, Mendy 5, Rodri 6, Fernandinho 6, De Bruyne 6, Foden 5, Mahrez 7, Sterling 6. Subs: Delap 6, Torres 6, Laporte n/a.
LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel 7, Justin 7, Soyuncu 7, Evans 7, Castagne 7, Mendy 7, Amartey 7, Praet 7, Tielemans 7, Barnes 8, Vardy 9. Subs: Maddison 7, Fuchs 6, Iheanacho n/a.
4' – Man City 1-0 Leicester City. Mahrez smashes a stunning first-time shot into the top corner after Justin’s headed clearance from a left-wing corner dropped his way.
37' – Man City 1-1 Leicester City. Vardy hammers a clinical penalty above the dive of Ederson and into the back of the net. All square! The spot kick was awarded after Vardy turned on to Barnes’ pass on the left side of the area and was caught by a clumsy challenge from Walker.
54' – Man City 1-2 Leicester City. It's Vardy at the double! Castagne charges to the byline and crosses low to the near post for the Foxes hitman to flick a sensational finish beyond Ederson.
58' – Man City 1-3 Leicester City. Vardy grabs his hat-trick by fizzing a low spot kick into the right-hand corner he is facing. The forward once again won the penalty when he was tumbled by Garcia.
77' – Man City 1-4 Leicester City. Maddison cuts in from the left and curves a sublime shot into the top corner. Game over.
84' – Man City 2-4 Leicester City. Nathan Ake grabs his first goal for the Citizens with a firm header from a right-wing corner.
88' – Man City 2-5 Leicester City. In the absence of Vardy, Tielemans steps up and converts Leicester's third spot kick of the day. This time Mendy was penalised for bringing down Maddison.
Vardy is the first player to win two penalties and score two penalties in a single Premier League game since Milan Baros for Liverpool against Crystal Palace in November 2004.
Top-flight sides managed by Pep Guardiola have only conceded a hat-trick on three occasions in all competitions - Jamie Vardy is now responsible for two of these (also Lionel Messi for Barcelona in Oct 2016).
For the first time in 686 games as a manager, Pep Guardiola has seen his side concede five goals. It is also the first time in 438 games at the Etihad Stadium that Manchester City have shipped five goals in any competition.
Leicester City have won each of their opening three games to a top-flight season for the very first time in the club's history.