Lille OSC 1-2 Leicester City: Iheanacho double secures victory ahead of Premier League opener

Lille OSC 1-2 Leicester City: Iheanacho double secures victory ahead of Premier League opener

The Foxes notched victory in their final pre-season game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy courtesy of their Nigerian forward.

Daniel Orme
Lille OSCMaignan ; Ballo-Touré (Alonso, min. 53), Fonte, Soumaoro (Gabriel, min. 80), Çelik; Xeka, Maia (Zekaj, min. 72); Benzia; Bamba (El Ghazi, min. 46), Pépé, Mothiba (Ikoné, min. 72).
Leicester CitySchmeichel; Chilwell, Morgan, Benalouane (Johnson, min. 71), Amartey; N'didi (Elder, min. 71), Iborra (Silva, min. 46 (Ndukwu, min. 87)); Pereira (Fuchs, min. 71), Maddison (Diabate, min. 57), Albrighton; Iheanacho (Gordon, min 71).
SCORE1-0, min. 4, Mothiba. 1-1, min. 34, Iheanacho. 1-2, min. 59, Iheanacho.
REFEREEAdmonished Maddison (min. 46), Mothiba (min. 49), Ballo-Touré (min. 52), Benzia (min. 66)
INCIDENTSPre-season friendly between Leicester City and Lille OSC. The game was played at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Kelechi Iheanacho netted a brace as Leicester City rounded off pre-season with a 2-1 comeback victory against Lille OSC at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday evening.

The Nigerian forward netted in the 34th minute with a stunning header to cancel out Lebo Mothiba's close-range opener. He then scored again with an instinctive, predatory finish mid-way through the second-half to secure victory for Claude Puel on his return to his former club.

Laboured start from Leicester

It did not take long for the hosts to get into their groove on home soil. Nicolas Pépé immediately troubled the Foxes' backline with his pace and found Jonathan Bamba unmarked. The 22-year-old struck for goal, only to see Kasper Schmeichel deflect the ball away. It then found its way to Mothiba, but another stunning save from the Dane kept the scores level.

The South African was not be denied though. Zeki Çelik did well to find space on the right-flank and whipped in a teasing cross that evaded every Leicester defender. Mothiba chested to control and finished from close range to claim the lead for Les Dogues.

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Signs of life from the Foxes

Despite their horrendous start, Claude Puel's men finally started to get a grip on the game. Ben Chilwell created the first opportunity as he sprinted towards goal only to shoot straight at Mike Maignan in the home goal.

Wilfred N'didi then tried his luck from range but his thunderous shot flew straight over the crossbar.

Yassine Benzia almost went one better as he too powered an effort towards goal from range but another stunning save from Schmeichel saw the Algerian's effort pawed away from the top corner.

Stunning header from Iheanacho levels matters

The Foxes did not have to wait particularly long to earn their equaliser. Marc Albrighton manufactured room on the left and produced a teasing cross towards Iheanacho. The ball was slightly behind the young Nigerian but he managed to angle his neck and generate enough power to nod it into the bottom corner.

Ricardo Pereira almost struck again only minutes later but he was charged down in the box as he set his sights for the top corner.

Leicester did eventually get their second goal after the break, and it was Iheanacho yet again who hit the back of the net. The Nigerian managed to get ahead of his defender only yards from goal and coolly guided Chilwell's low cross beyond Maignan for his fourth goal of pre-season.

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Chances come and go in closing stages

The former Manchester City man was so close to securing the match-ball with just over 20 minutes left as he connected with another great cross from the English defender. However, his deft header dropped just wide of the post.

The hosts were then guilty of spurning a great opportunity to equalise as Mothiba sprinted beyond the Foxes' defence. Schmeichel again held firm to save from the striker before Benzia blasted the ball over the ball.

Puel's men could have all-but wrapped up the win as academy prospects Layton Ndukwu and Josh Gordon combined well but the former could only prod wide.

It mattered not, however, as Leicester claimed victory in their final pre-season clash. They now turn their attentions to their Premier League opener against Manchester United on Friday evening.


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