GRAY GOAL BRIGHT­ENS THE MOOD FOR FOXES IN CARDIFF

Wales On Sunday - - SPORT - DO­MINIC BOOTH Foot­ball Writer do­[email protected]­line.co.uk

LEICES­TER City paid trib­ute to their owner Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha with a 1-0 vic­tory over Cardiff City, se­cured by De­marai Gray’s sec­ond half strike. It was an emo­tional oc­ca­sion marked by tributes to the Thai chair­man whose death has rocked foot­ball this week.

And the Foxes pro­duced a gritty per­for­mance in homage to ‘Vichai’ to see off a Cardiff side who were well below their best.

Jamie Vardy was one of five play­ers to re­turn to Leices­ter’s side for the game. The ex­pe­ri­enced striker had been keen to play this fix­ture af­ter the “tough­est week of his life” fol­low­ing last week­end’s he­li­copter tragedy.

Both teams – as well as sup­port­ers and of­fi­cials – ob­served an im­pec­ca­ble minute’s si­lence be­fore the game in hon­our of Vichai and the four oth­ers who lost their lives in the he­li­copter crash.

Leices­ter fans trav­elled in num­bers to pay trib­ute and also cheer on their side.

Neil Warnock brought back Harry Arter in his one change from last week’s Liver­pool de­feat.

The vis­i­tors started slowly though with Cardiff look­ing dan­ger­ous in the first half hour and fash­ion­ing the first ma­jor chance when Vic­tor Ca­ma­rasa’s free kick hit the wood­work.

James Mad­di­son pulled the strings for Leices­ter through­out as the vis­i­tors grew into the con­test.

Both Ndidi and Vardy pro­duced were de­nied in first-half stop­page time with the lat­ter’s ef­fort de­flected off Sol Bamba onto the wood­work – with a strong sus­pi­cion of hand­ball in the Ivo­rian’s block. Leices­ter were in­censed but it re­mained goal­less at the break.

The Foxes carved out half chances through Mad­di­son and Gray who both missed the tar­get af­ter the in­ter­val, be­fore Josh Mur­phy tested Kasper Sch­me­ichel on the counter.

Gray made no mis­takes min­utes later, turn­ing home Ben Chilwell’s cross af­ter some lax Cardiff mark­ing. It was thor­oughly mer­ited.

Leices­ter con­tin­ued to im­press and went in search of a sec­ond, Vardy forc­ing a good save from Neil Etheridge late on.

And although it never quite came, Cardiff didn’t threaten enough to level.

Blue­birds boss Neil Warnock said some of his play­ers had also been af­fected by the Leices­ter tragedy as “train­ing had not been the same”.

“It’s been a strange week, sur­real re­ally, and I’m glad it’s out of the way if I’m hon­est,” Warnock said.

“I thought the fans were amaz­ing in the cir­cum­stances, the re­spect they showed and the way they were to­gether. It was quite emo­tional out there.

“The play­ers gave ev­ery­thing but it’s been dif­fi­cult this week, three or four lads in par­tic­uar.

“Whether it’s trig­gered things up I don’t know. But train­ing’s not been the same and we had to have a word with them that we’ve got to play the game.”

Leices­ter at the end of the game

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