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Match Reports

Leicester City 2 Brentford 1

First half goals hand Brentford defeat

20 March 2022

Brentford conceded two first half goals from distance as they were beaten by Leicester City. The hosts struck twice from almost the same spot 25 yards from goal in 15 first period minutes as they took a half time lead. Yoane Wissa pulled one back for Brentford, but Leicester got over the line.

Brentford might feel a little frustrated with the 2-1 final score. Goalkeeper David Raya was beaten by two unstoppable strikes while The Bees failed to take some of their chances at the other end. It was an entertaining afternoon, but Brentford left with nothing.

It was an even start to the contest, with few chances in the opening stages. Both teams had spells of possession and times when they had the ball in opposition territory. When the opening goal arrived, it came from the first shot on target of the afternoon, 20 minutes in.

The ball was switched from right to left for Harvey Barnes. He was able to spot the run of Timothy Castagne, arriving from left back. The ball was set for Castagne, and he smashed it right footed in to the top corner. The ball arrowed across Raya, who dived to his left but was almost helpless as the ball flew past him in to the top corner.

The goal came almost out of nothing and defied much of what had happened before. James Maddison had pulled a shot wide for the home side and Ivan Toney had created an opening at the other end. He beat Castagne to a bouncing ball and got in to the penalty area. The ball was fed to Mbeumo, and he saw a shot blocked, albeit it looked like he may have been tripped by Çağlar Söyüncü as he got his effort off. Toney’s follow-up was blocked, and Referee Darren England waved away appeals for a penalty. Video Assistant Referee Graham Scott also checked the incident and saw nothing untoward.

The game opened up after the goal. Brentford had a more attacking outlook and began to use the space in behind Leicester’s defence. They could have levelled when Wissa strode in to space on the left and found Mathias Jensen arriving. The shot from Jensen was first-time, left-footed and fierce, but also straight at Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who saved.

The Bees also tested Leicester with a series of set pieces and almost scored from one. A corner was recycled by Toney and Christian Nørgaard crossed to Mbeumo on the far post. He drilled it back in but could neither find Pontus Jansson, waiting in the middle, or the net.

Instead, the second goal was scored by Leicester. Maddison won himself a free kick 25 yards out as he allowed Jensen to run in to him and bundle him over. He picked himself up and bent the shot over the defensive wall and out of the reach of Raya. The shot, from basically the same spot Castagne scored from, fizzed past the Brentford goalkeeper, who flew full stretch to his right but could not keep the effort out as it bent just inside the post.

Both teams continued with their attacking mindset as half time approached, but it was Leicester who created the chances. Brentford’s attacking play seemed to falter in the final stages. They could not find the right final pass or create the key opening to give them shots on goal.

Leicester were able to create openings and could have scored a third before the break. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall robbed Nørgaard in midfield and set off towards goal before pulling a shot just past the post. There was also some nice interplay inside the area that saw Kelechi Iheanacho release James Justin. Justin got away from Jansson and fired in a shot that Raya saved with his legs.

Raya was also in action early in the second half, saving to his right when Maddison shot from 20 yards. Justin and Iheanacho also saw efforts blocked as Leicester started the second half brightly. The hosts were on the front foot, looking to push forward and should have grabbed a third when Iheanacho got on to a Justin pass and turned in to space. He raced from half way with only Raya to beat, the ball was lifted over the Brentford goalkeeper but bounced wide.

But Brentford were also on the attack at the start of the second half. They won some early set pieces and forced Leicester to defend their six-yard box. The hosts took the unusual stance of leaving three men forward when they were defending corners. It caused a strange scene with seven players in one half of the pitch and the rest inside the Leicester penalty area, apart from Jensen taking the corner, and Brentford almost exploited it.

Jansson headed a corner over and was then alert when a long throw dropped loose and Vitaly Janelt won the ball. Jansson’s shot deflected wide. The resulting corner was half cleared but Ajer was able to make space and cross to the far post. Jansson rose highest and powered a header at goal, but Schmeichel kept it out.

Justin volleyed over on the stretch for Leicester when the hosts broke quickly, but Brentford had the upper hand. They introduced Shandon Baptiste and Mads Roerslev as they looked to control possession and continued to create chances. Baptiste and Wissa created space for Jensen 20 yards out, but he sliced across the ball, and it flew wide.

Baptiste was also involved in Brentford’s best chance of the afternoon. His pass gave Toney the space to deliver a cross to the far post where Mbeumo headed down, but Schmeichel made a block. Wissa got to the loose ball as Justin dithered but the shot from Baptiste was blocked. VAR Mr Scott may have adjudged Mbeumo offside on a second look, but the flag initially stayed down.

The flag also stayed down at the other end when Maddison’s pass gave Justin only Raya to beat, but his shot lacked the power to trouble the Brentford goalkeeper. Toney headed a Rico Henry cross over for The Bees before substitute Tariqe Fosu crossed for Mbeumo. The ball was a fraction behind Mbeumo, and he tried an acrobatic effort, but failed to make a good enough connection with it.

Iheanacho headed wide for Leicester before Brentford pulled one back. Baptiste was tackled as he tried to stride forward but the ball broke to Mbeumo. His pass found Wissa in space, and he smashed a shot past Schmeichel and in to the net. The shot, from 22 yards, faded away to Schmeichel’s left and The Bees had a lifeline.

Barnes steered a Maddison free kick wide for Leicester, but Brentford had the initiative in the dying minutes as they chased the game. Fosu wriggled in to the penalty area on the left and his deflected shot was pushed away by Schmeichel. Toney had an effort blocked from a half cleared corner before Mbeumo bent an effort in to the arms of Schmeichel. There were late set pieces as Brentford put men forward, but Leicester stood firm and got the win.

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Justin, Söyüncü, Amartey, Castagne (sub Evans 64 mins); Tielemans, Mendy, Dewsbury-Hall (sub Soumaré 79 mins); Maddison, Iheanacho (sub Daka 86 mins), Barnes

Subs (not used): Jakupović, Pérez, Choudhury, Pereira, Vestergaard, Thomas

Bookings: Dewsbury-Hall (76 mins)

Brentford: Raya; Ajer (sub Roerslev 66 mins), Jansson, Pinnock, Henry (sub Fosu 74 mins); Jensen, Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Baptiste 56 mins); Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa

Subs (not used): Fernández, Zanka, Bech, Onyeka, Canós, Young-Coombes

Bookings: Pinnock (83 mins), Nørgaard (90 mins)  


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