Report as Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho steps off the bench to win the game in the final minutes of the Community Shield after £100m Jack Grealish was subbed on for his Manchester City debut at Wembley.
Sunday 8 August 2021 15:08, UK
Kelechi Iheanacho's 89th-minute penalty gave Leicester more Wembley glory as they beat Manchester City 1-0 in the 2021 Community Shield on Saturday.
£100m Jack Grealish was centre of attention when he came on for his Man City debut on 64 minutes but it was Leicester's sub Iheanacho who made the difference, forcing Nathan Ake into a mistake to win the spot-kick and then emphatically firing home against his former side in front of the Leicester fans, 84 days on from their FA Cup triumph at the same venue.
Leicester had impressed throughout, with Harvey Barnes starring on his return to competitive action from a knee injury which had sidelined him since February, and the winger had been involved when Jamie Vardy's shot was kicked onto the post by Zack Steffen on the stroke of half-time.
Man City had their moments too, with Riyad Mahrez passing up several good chances to score against his old club, including a great opportunity on the counter-attack in the second half, but despite Grealish's cameo, in which he showed glimpses of his exciting dribbling ability, the Premier League champions were defeated.
FA Cup winners have now won this prize on six of the last seven occasions against Premier League winners, and while it is unlikely to have a major bearing on how the title race will play out this coming season, it's clear Pep Guardiola's side still have work to do to be ready for their Super Sunday opener with Tottenham.
For Leicester, though, they go into their season curtain-raiser with Wolves full of confidence after another Wembley triumph.
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Bertrand (6), Soyuncu (7), Amartey (6), Pereira (7), Barnes (8), Maddison (7), Ndidi (7), Perez (6), Tielemans (6), Vardy (6).
Subs used: Iheanacho (8), Soumare (7), Daka (6), Albrighton (6), Thomas (6), Dewsbury-Hall (6)
Man City: Steffen (7), Mendy (5), Dias (7), Ake (5), Cancelo (6), Fernandinho (6), Palmer (6), Gundogan (6), Edozie (6), Torres (6), Mahrez (5).
Subs used: Rodri (6), Knight (6), Bernardo Silva (6), Grealish (6)
Man of the match: Harvey Barnes (Leicester)
Wembley wasn't at full capacity but there was excitement for both sets of fans early on, with fit-again Barnes seeing a shot in the box blocked, Kasper Schmeichel, and then, less-connivingly Caglar Soyuncu, diverting the ball over the Leicester bar, and Vardy and Riyad Mahrez trying their luck from distance.
There was a let-off for young Man City midfielder Cole Palmer on 24 minutes when Wilfred Ndidi robbed him on the left flank and set up a move which saw Barnes blocked again and Vardy fire straight at Steffen but the Foxes were breathing a sigh of relief themselves moments later when 18-year-old Sam Edozie sliced badly wide at the other end.
For the Foxes, 50 per cent of their attacks were coming down the left flank, as they repeatedly looked for the impressive Barnes and Ake had to be sharp to snuff out some slick combination play between the winger and Vardy on the half-hour.
And it was that pair who almost forced the opening on the stroke of half-time, when Barnes picked out Vardy at the back post, but the striker hooked his effort awkwardly back across goal and Steffen was able to clip the ball with a trailing leg onto the woodwork.
Man City were inches away themselves immediately after the restart, with Edozie's cross-shot curling just beyond Schmeichel's far post and although Vardy forced Ruben Dias into his third block of the afternoon, it was Guardiola's side on the front foot again as Mahrez clipped a free-kick over and Ilkay Gundogan drilled high.
They should have gone in front on 57 minutes when Mahrez was sent racing clear on the counter-attack but, much to the delight of his former Leicester fans at the other end of the pitch, he was caught up and hassled by Ndidi before shooting over the bar.
Seven minutes later, it was the moment Man City fans had been waiting for, as their new record signing Grealish was sent into the action. Playing in his familiar left-sided forward role, the England man immediately tried to have an impact, twice dribbling at the Leicester defence before being crowded out.
A flurry of changes were made by both sides not long after, including the introduction of Leicester's new signings Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumare - who caught the eye with his skill and strength in midfield - and Man City's Bernardo Silva, who, reports suggest, could be on his way out of the club this summer.
It was almost the perfect start for Daka, who was just beaten to a through ball by Steffen, but it was the more familiar sub Iheanacho who changed the game, muscling Ake off the ball and then hitting the deck when the Dutchman waved a careless leg out to trip him up.
The striker smashed home the spot-kick and the Foxes - who handed City a bruising defeat in the Premier League in the early stages of last season - saw out the final moments to add more silverware to their collection.
Brendan Rodgers, Leicester manager: "Both teams are here on merit and it is at the end of a pre-season when players are still looking for fitness physically but you've seen over the last number of years it's even more so become a prominent trophy. If you're here you want to win it and that's the mindset we tried to bring to the team and the club: that every game is to win. The guys showed great spirit, great quality at times and eventually got the winning goal.
"Barnes is such a talent. I'm looking forward to him this season. It was a huge blow when he was out. Great one v one. He's not quite there on his fitness but he's such an important player for us.
"Fofana has his operation on Monday and he won't play until 2022. At what point that will be, we'll have to assess that in the next six months or so. It's such a shame for us. An incredible talent. But he's in really, really good spirits. He'll have his operation and then he'll be back in the training ground on Thursday, Friday next week and begin his rehab then. It's such a shame, for the Premier League not to have a talent like that, certainly for us it's a big blow. In and around his medial ligament, there was a lot more damage there than we'd hoped. The scan showed up it was quite substantial damage there."
Pep Guardiola, Man City manager: "I would have loved to have won the game. Congratulations to Leicester for the Community Shield victory. Our performance was really, really good, especially for this stage of the season and the way we played in the second half was so good. The game was well played. They had chances, we had chances and in the second we were so good.
"Tomorrow, players will arrive. Many of our players have played just three training sessions. Day by day, month by month we try our best to compete as best as possible. We will try our best, knowing we will not be at our best. It happened last season at Wolves and we lost 2-5 at home to Leicester.
"We know we will not be at our best. The players will be better next Sunday. Before the international break we want to get as many points as possible to be there and after week by week, I am pretty sure we will be better. What I saw today I am incredibly confident for the season.
"It was good [cameo from Grealish]. Really good. He was aggressive against the full backs. He will get to know his mates and step by step he will find his best."
Leicester's Premier League season begins with Wolves at home at 3pm on Saturday. Manchester City get their Premier League title defence underway against Tottenham next Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 3.30pm; kick-off 4.30pm.