Foxes get historic win
LEICESTER City striker Islam Slimani resumed his torment of Porto as the Premier League champions preserved their 100 percent Champions League record with a narrow 1-0 victory on September 27.
Playing in their first-ever Champions League home game, Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester prevailed thanks to Slimani’s 25th-minute header to make it two wins in two games in Group G.
Slimani earned the nickname “The Dragon Slayer” for his scoring feats against Porto with former club Sporting Lisbon and he has now scored seven goals in seven career appearances against the Dragons.
“I was very confident with Slimani because Slimani often scored against Porto when he was a Sporting player,” said Ranieri.
“I spoke with Riyad [Mahrez] and Islam and said, ‘Come on guys, make something good tonight.’ And they made a pass, assist, goal. It was good.”
Eight years to the day previously at the King Power Stadium, Leicester had beaten Hartlepool United 1-0 in an unremarkable English third-tier game.
Eight years on, they are the champions of England and having won 3-0 at Club Brugge in their opening group fixture, their fans will already be dreaming of a place in the last 16.
Two points clear in Group G, the European campaign is proving a welcome tonic for Leicester, whose faltering league title defence has seen them beaten three times already.
Two-time European champions Porto, meanwhile, have now played 17 games on English soil without winning, losing and failing to score on their last five visits.
“I just wish the players had played from the first minute as in the last 15 minutes, because we played well in the last 15 minutes,” said Porto coach Nuno Espirito Santo.
“It is not easy to come to the Premier League champions and start from the first minute like we finished, but that is the challenge and I’m quite optimistic for the future.”
Porto right-back Miguel Layun made an enterprising start to the game, working fit-again Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with a curling shot and then whipping a low cross across goal.
But Layun’s defensive colleagues were quickly made to look uncomfortable by Leicester’s muscular strike pairing of Slimani and Jamie Vardy.
Brazilian centre-back Felipe was particularly discomfited, almost heading Christian Fuchs’s long throw into his own net and then being booked for blocking Vardy’s run.
The crowd sensed blood and in the 25th minute the breakthrough arrived courtesy of US$36.3 million record signing Slimani.
Marc Albrighton switched play with a glorious crossfield pass, Riyad Mahrez shaped an inviting cross to the back post and Slimani outmuscled Felipe to plant a diving header past Iker Casillas.
It was the Algeria international’s third goal in four appearances for Leicester and the sixth goal he had scored past Casillas in 2016 alone.
Leicester City’s Algerian striker Islam Slimani (centre) scored the winning goal as he enjoyed another successful outing against Porto at the King Power Stadium in Leicester on September 27.