Leicester City 2-0 Fleetwood Town: Foxes cruise into FA Cup fourth round with comfortable victory as VAR shines

Leicester City made sure they didn't make the same mistake in their Emirates FA Cup third round replay with Fleetwood Town as they did in the first match. The two sides drew 0-0 10 days ago at the Highbury Stadium in a game where the League One outfit had the best chances to progress to the next round.

This time, Jamie Vardy featured, albeit for the final 10 minutes, against his former employers and received a great reception from both sets of fans when he replaced Riyad Mahrez.

Fleetwood hit the front but are pegged back

With a much stronger Leicester side than the one we saw at the Highbury Stadium under two weeks ago, many predicted it would be plain sailing for the hosts but it was far from that. The first 25 minutes showed very little in the way of entertainment as it looked nothing more than a training session for the Foxes.

The first bit of excitement was enjoyed by the away fans as Conor McAleny found some space in the final third before his weak shot was comfortably saved by Eldin Jakupović. Adrien Silva had the chance to score his first Leicester goal moments later but his effort ended up well over the crossbar after appearing to bounce up before getting his shot away.

The Portuguese maestro's sloppy touch then led to a dangerous Fleetwood counter-attack and it was once again McAleny who had his effort kept out. However, with the shot bending into the far corner, Jakupovic could only parry the ball, another warning sign for the Premier League team.

Iheanacho snatches the lead for Puel's Foxes

Riyad Mahrez was chosen as captain for the evening by Claude Puel and he nearly repaid the Frenchman's faith with a curling free-kick that struck the woodwork after he was scythed down 25 yards out. Jonathan Moss, who will never be popular at the King Power Stadium, handed his first card of the night to Yohan Benalouane after the Tunisian centre-back clattered Jordy Iwula right under the nose of the linesman.

Leicester's stand-in goalkeeper was called into action yet again with a brilliant save at full-stretch from Kyle Dempsey from the edge of the box. The Fleetwood midfielder forced a top-drawer save from the Bosnian-born stopper with the visitors' closest chance of the match.

The lower-league minnows were then made to rue their missed chances as the top-flight side took the lead just a couple of minutes before half-time. Kelechi Iheanacho, who wasn't needed for the goalless draw, latched onto Islam Slimani's through ball and finished brilliantly through the legs of Chris Neal. The Nigerian's second Leicester goal would have left Uwe Rosler in despair ahead of his team-talk.

Embed from Getty Images

Foxes flex their top-flight muscles

The second period was very different to the first as Leicester switched into cruise control and started to show their superior quality. Slimani should have doubled the hosts' lead as Iheanacho played a lovely lofted pass through to the Algerian striker who fluffed his lines in the box and sent his shot well wide in the end.

The Foxes thought they had doubled their lead 12 minutes later and it was Iheanacho again. Riyad Mahrez teased the Fleetwood defence before playing a pass down the line to Demarai Gray, which turned out to be slightly heavy. Gray squared a pass across the box which left Iheanacho with an open goal, the former Manchester City striker rolled the ball into the empty net only for the linesman to have judged Mahrez's pass over the byline.

Leicester's dominance saw them come close again as Vicente Iborra flashed a bullet header over the bar before the Spaniard complained that he was held back by Nathan Pond from a Marc Albrighton free-kick. However, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) backed Moss' decision not to award the penalty.

VAR reigns at the King Power

History was then made with VAR and Iheanacho was the beneficiary. The 21-year-old chipped over the onrushing Neal from a fantastic Mahrez assist but the linesman raised his flag, adjudging Iheanacho to be offside. The supporters at the King Power Stadium were left in limbo as the referee's finger went to his ear. But just a couple of minutes later, the goal was awarded as Mike Jones, the Video Assistant Referee, called the original decision incorrect (but extremely close).

With their two-goal advantage, Puel's side cruised to victory and Jamie Vardy was introduced in the 81st minute to play against his former side after missing out through injury 10 days ago. It now means Leicester will travel to Peterborough United on Saturday 27th January in the FA Cup fourth round hoping to advance further.