Jack Grealish strikes but Villa broken in dramatic comeback

Claudio Ranieri’s side go second in table after turning around game in last quarter

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish runs at the Leicester City defence at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish runs at the Leicester City defence at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

 

 

Leicester City never lie down. Aston Villa appeared to have floored the hosts here when Carles Gil put the visitors 2-0 up midway through the second half, but that goal turned out to be the catalyst to another extraordinary Leicester comeback. Goals from Ritchie De Laet and Jamie Vardy drew the hosts levels before Nathan Dyer marked his first appearance for the club with a last-gasp winner. Now many people’s pre-season favourites for relegation stand second in the Premier League.

Jack Grealish had given Villa the lead with an artful goal in the 39th minute. Having come into the game after a fortnight off due to his indecision about his international future, Grealish showed why both England and the Republic of Ireland are courting him. But it was Leicester’s newest England international, Vardy, and the loan signing Dyer who finished stronger in a marvellously entertaining contest.

Leicester have plenty of internationals these days and here Claudio Ranieri said he was curious to see how his players would resume club action after the international break, but if there was one thing that he must known he could take for granted from such an unpretentious squad then it was brio.

Second Captains

Vivacity

Villa should have been anticipating that too but instead the hosts’ early vivacity seemed to take the visitors by surprise, as did the late fightback.

Still once they came to grips with Leicester’s pace and energy, Villa began to demonstrate the greater guile. Tim Sherwood’s side may be in the early stages of reconstruction – Grealish and Ashley Westwood being the only two starters here who had begun May’s FA Cup final – but they showed encouraging cohesion and forced Leicester backwards.

Villa struck six minutes before the break. A corner from Ashley Westwood triggered chaos in the home box, with a header from Micah Richards and a shot from Carlos Sánchez repelled before Grealish daintily curled the ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel from the edge of the area. It was a finish that exemplified Villa’s superior poise. This was turning into an accomplished away performance. But Leicester soon let them know their work was far from done. For a while Villa looked as though they were caught in the headlights.

Jagged dribbles

Riyad Mahrez became a constant menace, his jagged dribbles constantly stretching Villa’s back line. But Leicester were foxed by a textbook counterattack in the 63rd minute. Agbonlahor charged down the left and crossed for Gil, who executed the perfect finish from 18 yards.

Undeterred, Leicester hurtled forward anew and Vardy claimed for a penalty after hitting the ground under a challenge from Bacuna. The pair squared up to each other as they debated the issue but Bacuna was not so lively from the following corner, allowing De Laet to get the jump on him at the near post and divert the ball just over the line.

That set the scene for a tumultuous end to the game. In the 82nd minute Mahrez served Drinkwater, who fizzed in a low cross. Vardy darted between two defenders to score from close range. Leicester did not settle for a point.

Dyer proved he shares the boundless courage of his new team-mates by hurling himself at a Mahrez cross in the 89th minute, beating Guzan to it and catching the goalkeeper’s fist in his face as the ball rolled over the line. Guardian Service

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