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Super-sub Iheanacho hands Leicester Community Shield title against ex-employers

Leicester win third successive match at Wembley

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho was on hand to score a last-gasp winner as FA Cup winners Leicester City defeated Premier League winners Manchester City 1-0 in the FA Community Shield to claim the season’s first piece of silverware at Wembley Stadium.

With many of his stars yet to return, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola started youngsters Sam Edozie and Cole Palmer in the English season’s curtain-raiser. The game started with Leicester City in the ascendancy as Manchester City looked flat and off the pace. The first real moment of danger for Manchester City came when a quick switch of play by Leicester City saw the ball get sent out wide to right-back Ricardo Pereira with Benjamin Mendy in no-man’s land, and the Leicester man pulled back the ball to the arriving Youri Tielemans who sent a low cross into the box, but Ayoze Perez fired his effort too close to Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

Manchester City created an opening of their own soon after as Ilkay Gundogan played a lovely cushioned ball into the path of 18-year-old Edozie, who slashed at the ball wildly, sending a left-footed effort high and wide. Manchester City raised the tempo of their game and began to knock the ball around, but the centers and crosses sent in from both flanks were not utilised as there was no center forward on the pitch for the Cityzens. Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy thought he had put his side in the lead after he met a brilliant cross from Harvey Barnes by sending the ball back across the keeper, but a combination of Steffen and the woodwork kept the scores level as both sides ended the half level.

The second half resumed with both sides trying hard to get the better of each other. There was time for a debut for Manchester City’s record signing James Maddison as he replaced Edozie after 65 minutes. Leicester City responded by throwing on Zambian striker Patson Daka for Jamie Vardy just six minutes later.

The game was still evenly matched until Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers decided to turn to last season’s top scorer Iheanacho, sending him on in place of Harvey Barnes in the 79th minute. His introduction paid off as he showed good awareness and anticipation to chase down Manchester City defender Nathan Ake after the Dutchman took a heavy touch inside his own box, nick the ball off him and force him to make a desperate lunge. Referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot, and Iheanacho picked up himself and stepped up to fire the ball past Steffen from 12 yards in the 89th minute. Leicester could have added another just minutes later as Manchester City left their defence exposed as they tried to find an equaliser, leaving Daka with the room to run into the City half, but the Zambian was unable to find his strike partner Iheanacho with a pass to put him through on goal.

Following the win today, Leicester City has made it three successive wins at Wembley and has now added a first Community Shield trophy since 1971 to their league and FA Cup titles of recent years. Iheanacho celebrated his goal in muted fashion due to his Manchester City links, and the Nigerian has started the 2021/22 season in the best manner possible with a well-taken goal and a piece of silverware.

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