1-0, Mahrez, '40.
Leicester 1-0 FC Copenhagen: Mahrez sends the Foxes within touching distance of the knockout stages
Mahrez controls the ball in a match winning performance last night against FC Copenhagen

Leicester 1-0 FC Copenhagen: Mahrez sends the Foxes within touching distance of the knockout stages

The Algerian scored late in the first half, as Leicester make it three wins from three in Europe.

Harvey Jones

Premier League champions, Leicester City become the first side to win their opening three games in the Champions League to increase their lead at the top of Group G, following a 1-0 win against Danish champions FC Copenhagen

The Foxes started the game as a vision of last season’s title winning side. A sea of blue pressing Copenhagen across the pitch like a breaking wave. Despite the fast start, the Danish side stayed firm throughout the first quarter of an hour, dominating the ball with Leicester’s only threat coming from a handful of impressive long balls to Jamie Vardy, which came to nothing.

The breakthrough

Riyad Mahrez has been directly involved in three of City’s four Champions League goals this season, scoring two, and the Algerian was involved in yet another goal as he gave the home side the breakthrough in the 40th minute.

Mahrez celebrates after the opener. Photo: Getty
Mahrez celebrates after the opener. Photo: Getty

Vardy picked up the ball down the left flank, after yet another long ball, and found time to cut onto his right foot to put in a deep cross to Islam Slimani at the far post. The former Sporting Lisbon target man knocked the ball down into the path of his national compatriot, Mahrez, who tapped home from 6 yards.

The second period

The goal, however, seemed not to phase the Copenhagen players as their first attack from the restart saw Toulouh’s long range strike deflect narrowly over Kasper Schmeichel’s goal by captain Wes Morgan. From the resulting corner Cornelius, who had previously scored six goals in his last seven Champions League matches, was found free in the box and his glancing header went inches wide of the far post. The best chance of the game squandered by the visitors.   

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

The second half began with a similar style to the first with blue shirts dispersing over the pitch with pace and pinpoint balls through to Vardy and Slimani, with Mahrez continuing where he left off in the first half, with a decent strike flying just over the bar.

But again the Danish side showed resilience at the back, with Johansson making a string of good tackles, to slowly grow themselves back into the game as Cornelius guided a low strike from Ankerson towards goal, which forced a good save from Schmeichel after 55 minutes.

As the game went on the tempo began to slow as Ranieri’s defiant men began to soak up more Copenhagen pressure, with Fuchs being shown the first yellow card of the game with a foul on Verbic ten minutes from full time.

The key moment of the whole match came in injury time as a low cross into the box by Verbic found Cornelius, yet again, and his snap shot looked destined for the bottom left corner of the Foxes net, however an incredible reflex save from the wrong footed ‘Danish King’ denied FC Copenhagen a last gasp equaliser and a stunning end to a tense night.

But the Midlands side continued to stay solid at the back and that’s the way it stayed as World Cup final referee, Nicola Rizzoli, blew the final whistle and ended yet another huge victory in the incredible recent history of Leicester City FC, to give the side more points in the Champions League than they have in the Premier League.

The two sides will meet again in a fortnight’s time on Wednesday, as the top two teams of the group, with another win for Leicester almost certainly guaranteeing the Blues qualification to the Round of 16.