Leicester City 3-0 Zorya Luhansk: Foxes open Europa League campaign with comfortable win
James Maddison celebrates his opener against Zorya Luhansk | Photo: Getty/ Andrew Kearns - CameraSport

Leicester City kicked off their UEFA Europa League campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Ukrainian outfit Zorya Luhansk at the King Power Stadium.

James Maddison gave the Foxes, who were making their first return to Europe in three seasons, the opener in the 29th minute with a strike from close range. Harvey Barnes doubled that advantage on the stroke of half-time with a wonderful finish of his own before Kelechi Iheanacho took advantage of poor play from the hosts to get a third after the break to give Leicester a comfortable start.

Story of the Match

Shaky start but Leicester lead

Despite being the least-fancied side in the group ahead of kick-off, it was actually Zorya who started the better. They almost took the lead mid-way through the opening-half as Vladyslav Kabayev got on the end of Vladlen Yurchenko's low cross but Kasper Schmeichel produced an excellent low stop.

Rodgers' men managed to settle into the game though and soon hit the front through Maddison. Barnes initially did a lot of great work to get into the penalty area but his curling drive came back off the post before dropping into the path of Kelechi Iheanacho. The Nigerian was unable to convert but did at least poke it into Maddison, who nudged in from close range.

Barnes could have doubled the advantage but hit his low effort straight at Zorya stopper Mykyta Shevchenko.

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Foxes streak away

The Foxes' academy graduate did eventually get his goal though and it was a wonderful finish. He managed to latch onto an excellent back-heel from Iheanacho and raced beyond the Zorya defence. Faced up with just Shevchenko, the 22-year-old had acres of time to pick his spot before delicately lifting the ball into the net.

Leicester's appetite for goals did not abate after the break and after bagging two assists, Iheanacho notched one of his own. Dmytro Ivanisenya's poor pass went straight to the Nigerian in the penalty area. He then took two touches to spin and then coolly caress the ball into the bottom corner to claim a great win and top spot in G, albeit at this early stage.

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Takeaways

Brilliant Barnes

Whilst it was a positive night all round for the Leicester players, the stand-out really was Barnes. The young winger was electric all evening, proving to be a constant thorn in the side of Zorya Luhansk. His blistering pace was a potent weapon for the home side and he could even had more than his solitary goal. 

Leicester ride a storm

On paper, it will look like Rodgers' side enjoyed a comfortable night. It wasn't quite that way though. Zorya were a huge threat in the opening and as a matter of fact the closing stages. Leicester weathered this extremely well but they will certainly have to begin matches better once they come up against the likes of SC Braga and AEK Athens.

Foxes keep up unbeaten European home record

This match was Leicester's first win at home in the UEFA Europa League but with it they have managed to extend a very impressive home record in continental football. The Foxes did not lose a match at the King Power Stadium in their 2016/17 Champions League campaign. In fact, in nine European home matches, the club have only lost one - that being a 2-0 reverse to Atletico Madrid in 1997. That really could prove key as they aim to progress further in the competition.

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