Brentford conceded a goal in each half as they slipped to defeat to Leicester City. The Bees dominated long periods of the first half but fell behind to sensational strike from Youri Tielemans. Zanka equalised for The Bees, but Leicester got the third goal and took the points with a 2-1 win.
Brentford will feel hard done by to leave without at least a share of the spoils. They had a goal disallowed for offside early on and had all the chances in the opening exchanges. The second half was more even but The Bees appeared to be in the ascendency when Leicester grabbed the winning goal, and the hosts could not fight back.
Brentford made a very fast start to the game and spent the opening ten minutes camped in the Leicester half. They dominated the centre of the pitch, finding gaps to pass through and also pushed the Leicester defence back with balls in behind. The hosts had a series of early set pieces and created chances in the opening exchanges.
The Bees could have scored inside the first two minutes when Leicester failed to deal with a Zanka long throw. The ball dropped to Christian Nørgaard, and his swivel volley was destined for the bottom corner before Kasper Schmeichel got down to save low to his left. The resulting corner was flicked on at the near post and Nørgaard headed it back in to the danger area. Pontus Jansson beat Schmeichel to it but could not get high enough to head it down and in. Schmeichel’s attempted punch clearance saw his fist connect with Jansson but neither Referee Simon Hooper nor Video Assistant Referee Lee Mason saw it as a foul.
The Bees did have the ball in the net a couple of minutes later. Nørgaard and Mathias Jensen combined in midfield to release Rico Henry on the left, he cut inside Ricardo Pereira and delivered a pass for Ivan Toney to tap in at the far post. Unfortunately for The Bees, Assistant Referee Derek Eaton had his flag raised for offside and the goal was ruled out with Mr Mason confirming the decision.
Brentford found different ways to open Leicester up in the first minutes of the game. A pass from Sergi Canós was flicked first time by Toney in to the path of Mbeumo, he weaved inside Çaglar Söyüncü and was left with only Schmeichel to beat but fed his effort wide of the far post. The Bees had complete control of the game at that stage. They were good enough in possession in midfield to pull Leicester around and troubled them from set pieces.
Brentford had not, however, scored in that fine opening spell and Leicester took their opportunity to grab the first goal. They won a free kick on the right when Henry was adjudged to have blocked Pereira and took the opportunity to play it in to the penalty area. Henry headed it away but only as far as Tielemans, who stepped on to it and smashed a shot from 25 yards out of the reach of David Raya and in to the net. Leicester had barely had a touch in Brentford territory but the shot from Tielemans faded away from Raya high to his left and nestled in the net to give the visitors the lead.
James Maddison found space to weave his way to the edge of the Brentford penalty area and curl a shot wide soon after the goal, but the pattern of the game did not really alter. Brentford dominated possession and territory and had openings to level up before half time. An Ethan Pinnock header from a long throw was easy for Schmeichel and the goalkeeper was then fortunate to see a clever pass from Canós drop just too far ahead of Mbeumo. Had Mbeumo got to it, he would have been around the goalkeeper and walking the ball in to the net.
Mbeumo saw a shot blocked and Frank Onyeka failed to make contact with a dropping ball when Pinnock met a deep corner. There was a fine save from Schmeichel, tipping a Toney header over the bar. Toney had met an Onyeka cross after Nørgaard and Jensen had created space in midfield. The resulting corner dropped loose, and Henry pulled a shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Both teams made changes at the interval, and both appeared to be due to injury. Jamie Vardy was replaced by Patson Daka for Leicester while Pinnock was unable to reappear for the second half for The Bees after a couple of knocks before the interval. Kristoffer Ajer was introduced in his place as both sides stuck with their first half shape.
The game was, however, a little different in the early stages of the second half. Leicester saw more of the ball, particularly in midfield, and it was an even contest. David Raya was forced to save low to his right from Maddison after a run from midfield. Maddison was then involved to create space for Boubakary Soumaré, but the shot was, again, saved by Raya.
A Toney header had been saved by Schmeichel, but Brentford had less attacking possession at the start of the second period. Leicester’s midfield had tighter reins of The Bees and it was harder to play through and progress up the pitch. When Brentford’s goal came on the hour mark, it came when Leicester appeared to have some sort of control.
The equaliser came from a corner on the left. Jensen delivered it towards the near post and Zanka rose highest, he flicked a header across Schmeichel and in to the far corner to level the contest. The delivery was superb and Zanka’s header nestled in the corner to leave the game at 1-1 with 30 minutes remaining.
Daka headed over for Leicester and Henry set up a chance for Ajer after robbing Maddison. The shot from Ajer took a couple of deflections and bounced wide. And then, out of nothing, Leicester scored the winning goal. The visitors cleared a free kick and picked up the ball in midfield. Brentford’s defence stepped up and a ball through allowed Daka to run free with only Raya to beat. He unselfishly rolled it square for Maddison to tap in and give Leicester a lead that they were not about to relinquish for a second time.
The visitors did a fine job of taking the sting out of the later stages of the game. Brentford hustled and harried but were unable to build attacks in Leicester territory. The visitors were content to counter-attack, trying to get a third goal to kill the game and sat in to defend their penalty area. Kelechi Iheanacho lashed over from distance and Raya had to rush out to save at the feet of Ayoze Pérez when he looked to get on to a Daka pass.
That collision left Raya limping, but he was still able to save from Daka to keep Brentford in the contest. Daka also had a shot deflected wide late on while Nørgaard saw a shot blocked and Toney lashed wide. Brentford continued to push but could find no way through and Leicester took the points.
Brentford: Raya; Zanka, Jansson, Pinnock (sub Ajer h/t); Canós, Onyeka (sub Ghoddos 77 mins), Nørgaard, Jensen, Henry; Toney, Mbeumo (sub Forss 57 mins)
Subs (not used): Fernández, Roerslev, Stevens, Goode, Bidstrup, Maghoma
Bookings: Zanka (30 mins)
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Amartey, Evans, Söyüncü (sub Vestergaard 68 mins); Pereira, Tielemans, Soumaré, Castagne; Maddison (sub Pérez 78 mins); Vardy (sub Daka h/t), Iheanacho
Subs (not used): Ward, Bertrand, Barnes, Choudhury, Dewsbury-Hall, Lookman
Bookings: Söyüncü (63 mins)
Attendance: 16,814 (1,723 away fans)