Leicester City 3-1 Legia Warsaw: Foxes go top of Group C

By Sports Desk November 25, 2021

Leicester leapfrogged all three of their Europa League rivals to the top of Group C after a comfortable 3-1 win against Legia Warsaw at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes started Thursday's game bottom of a tight group, but with Spartak Moscow beating Napoli 2-1 on Wednesday, Brendan Rodgers' side now sit top thanks to first-half goals from Patson Daka, James Maddison and Wilfried Ndidi.

The only negative for Rodgers on the night aside from Filip Mladenovic's consolation strike was losing Jonny Evans to a muscle injury in the warm-up, with Daniel Amartey replacing him in defence.

The Premier League outfit will travel to Napoli for the final game of the group stage knowing that a draw will be enough to see them qualify for the knockout stage.

Leicester put the pressure on the visitors from the first whistle and were ahead in the 11th minute when good work from Harvey Barnes forced a deflection that fell kindly for Daka, who calmly slid in his fifth Europa League goal of the campaign.

They doubled their lead in the 21st minute as Maddison worked the ball onto his left foot after a one-two with Ademola Lookman before firing into the top corner of the net.

The Polish side had a penalty just five minutes later after Caglar Soyuncu's clearance struck Wilfried Ndidi on the arm. Mahir Emreli's spot-kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel but Mladenovic was quickest to follow up and slot in the rebound.

Ndidi made amends for his penalty concession in the 33rd minute, though, as the unmarked Nigerian headed in Leicester's third from a Maddison corner.

Both teams could have added to the scoring in the second half but the hosts were happy to see out the win, only their second in this year's Europa League group stage.

 

What does it mean? Foxes in the driving seat

Leicester avenged the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture on matchday two with relative ease and now sit top of Group C, one point ahead of both Spartak Moscow and Napoli.

Rodgers will be more than satisfied with that after picking up just one point from their first two games in the group, though it promises to be a tough final fixture in Naples in two weeks.

The Foxes have now only lost two of their 16 home matches in European football (W9 D5).

Maddison rises to the occasion

Maddison has had a quiet start to the season, but was at his influential best in the hour he got on the pitch against Legia, taking three shots, making two key passes and putting in six crosses.

The 25-year-old also scored and assisted in a single game for Leicester for the third time in all competitions, previously doing so against Sporting Braga (November 2020 in the Europa League) and Brentford (January 2021 in the FA Cup).

Legia Warsaw in crisis

Marek Golebiewski's side have now lost nine of their last ten games in all competitions and sit second from bottom in the Polish top flight.

This was Legia Warsaw’s first European match in England since November 1995, when they drew 0-0 with Blackburn Rovers in the Champions League group stages, and despite getting on the scoresheet, never looked like stopping the rot in Leicester.

What’s next?

Leicester host former boss Claudio Ranieri and his Watford team in the Premier League on Sunday, while Legia Warsaw are at home to Jagiellonia Bialystok on the same day in the Ekstraklasa.

Related items

  • Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo and Benzema should have finished above Messi, says Kroos Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo and Benzema should have finished above Messi, says Kroos

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were more deserving of winning the 2021 Ballon d'Or award than Lionel Messi, according to Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos.

    Messi won football's top individual accolade for a record-extending seventh time on Monday largely thanks to his success at international level with Argentina.

    The 34-year-old played a key part in Argentina's Copa America success, contributing to nine of the 13 goals his side scored as he ended his long wait for an international trophy.

    He has had a rather more mixed year at club level, having scored 28 goals in 29 games for Barcelona before completing a shock transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in August.

    Messi has netted just four times in his first 11 games for PSG, but he did enough to finish ahead of favourite Robert Lewandowski for his latest Ballon d'Or triumph.

    Lewandowski finished second despite scoring 53 times in 42 games this year so far – 15 more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions.

    Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho was third, followed by Benzema – who has 34 goals this year – in fourth and N'Golo Kante placed fifth. 

    Five-time winner Ronaldo finished sixth – the first time he has failed to make the top three in 11 years – but Kroos insists his former team-mate, as well as current colleague Benzema, have impressed more this year than Messi.

    "[Messi's] award is absolutely not deserved," Kroos said on his Einfach mal Luppen podcast. "There is no doubt that Messi, with Cristiano, has been the player of the last decade, but this year there should've been others ahead of him.

    "For me, Karim would have been the number one if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year. I can see from close quarters what an outstanding footballer he is.

    "When I see how many decisive goals Cristiano has scored lately – Manchester United are still in the Champions League thanks to him alone – then, in my eyes, Cristiano would have also come before Messi."

    Messi won the first of his seven Ballons d'Or in 2009 and now has two more than Ronaldo, with Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten next on the list with three each.

    The PSG superstar's latest success has caused plenty of debate, however, with legendary Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas also questioning the outcome of Monday's vote.

    "It is increasingly difficult for me to believe in football awards," he posted on his personal Twitter account.

    "For me, Messi, he is one of the five best players in all of history, but you have to know how to list the most outstanding players in a season. It's not that hard."

  • 'Some joy, some smiles, some hugs' - Jokic return a perfect remedy for ailing Nuggets 'Some joy, some smiles, some hugs' - Jokic return a perfect remedy for ailing Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic bounced back to Denver Nuggets duty as though he had never been away as the win at Miami Heat was described by coach Michael Malone as "a great pain reliever".

    The superstar Serbian, MVP in the NBA last season, had missed four successive games because of a wrist injury amid Denver's six-game slide.

    That was their worst such stretch since 2014-15 and saw them fall away after making a 9-4 start to the season, but prospects for Malone's men are looking up now that Jokic is fit.

    After sinking the Heat 120-111 in Miami, there was a warm mix of emotion and relief in the Nuggets' locker room.

    Jokic posted 24 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, and seemingly that effort had changed everything.

    Bones Hyland, the 21-year-old Nuggets point guard, shot a career-high 19 points including five three-pointers, and said: "It felt good going back into the locker room.

    "I felt as though the guys were trying to win so bad just because Nikola was out. We know what he provides, and we were trying to fill his shoes and those are big shoes to fill.

    "Him being back, everybody's a team now, playing through him, and it felt good for sure."

    Malone had to search for the correct terminology to describe the post-game emotion.

    "I don't know if relief is the right word, but there was definitely some joy, some smiles, some hugs," said the coach.

    "As corny as that sounds, man, winning is a great pain reliever. We've all been down in the dumps and to get this win tonight kind of just stops all of that and allows us to get back to feeling good about ourselves."

    He said playing without Jokic had been "a little bit different" to losing any other player.

    Quoted on NBA.com, Malone struck an upbeat tone, saying: "I love the guys in the locker room. I'll go to war with them. Obviously, tonight was just one win. But after losing six in a row, by no means have we said, 'We're gonna change our goals now'. There's 62 games left, so much basketball to be played. So, you move on and play another day."

    Jokic was not given an easy ride by the Miami crowd, facing boos every time he touched the ball due to the dust-up he and the Heat's Markieff Morris had in a November 8 game. Morris has missed 11 consecutive games since the incident.

    He is big enough to handle such hostility though, saying afterwards: "I played in Serbia, so I wish you guys could feel that."

    The 26-year-old Jokic is averaging 26.2 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists this season, so ostensibly this was a par performance. How the Nuggets had missed him at his most routine though.

    Jokic felt there was a collective improvement in the team, adding: "Everybody played well. We had seven players in double figures. So, everybody shared the ball. Everybody touched it."

  • New Man Utd boss Rangnick looks set to miss Arsenal game with work permit still processing New Man Utd boss Rangnick looks set to miss Arsenal game with work permit still processing

    Manchester United have confirmed new interim manager Ralf Rangnick's work permit is still processing, meaning he is likely to be absent for Thursday's match against Arsenal.

    Following much speculation, United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

    Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

    Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

    Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal, his former assistant Michael Carrick has been in charge and presided over a 2-0 Champions League win at Villarreal and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

    United are next in action at home to Arsenal on Thursday, though it seems Rangnick will not be present.

    An update posted to United's website read: "[It] will be the first game since Ralf Rangnick was appointed interim manager, even though the new man is still waiting for his work visa to be processed."

    To further complicate matters, people travelling to the United Kingdom are required to take a coronavirus test within two days of entering the country, and individuals must quarantine until their result has been returned.

    As such, even if Rangnick received his visa on Wednesday, the likelihood of him taking a coronavirus test and getting the result in time to attend Thursday's match is remote.

    United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.