Sunday, August 20, 2017

Barcelona 4 Leicester City 2: Defiant Foxes beaten again

SoccerNews in La Liga 3 Aug 2016

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Leicester City showed commendable resolve to go toe-to-toe with Barcelona in the International Champions Cup, though they eventually fell to a 4-2 loss in Stockholm.

The Premier League champions, gearing up for their first Champions League campaign, had been thrashed 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in California on Sunday and needed a much-improved second-half showing to avoid a similar outcome on Wednesday.

Claudio Ranieri’s men found Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in fine form in the first half, teeing up a brace for Munir either side of the former Liverpool forward’s fine individual effort.

Ahmed Musa was introduced at the break and crafted two excellent goals to inspire an impressive Leicester response, as new signing Bartosz Kapustka debuted, but Rafa Mujica’s late stunner finished them off.

While Barca made just the one change from their win against Celtic, there were seven alterations to Ranieri’s side following that PSG reverse, notably providing Jamie Vardy with his first action of pre-season.

A hectic start saw Suarez, Demarai Gray and Munir all waste openings, but, given another chance by Messi’s stunning pass, the later tucked a finish under Ron-Robert Zieler to give the Liga outfit a 26th-minute lead.

The Leicester goalkeeper thwarted Suarez for the next chance, but he could do little when the Uruguayan bounced past Robert Huth and Ben Chilwell to poke a second into the roof of the net.

And as the English side looked to respond, Munir appeared to have killed them off on the verge of half-time. The goal owed much to Suarez, whose glorious lifted pass found his team-mate’s toe for a simple prod.

Having been undone by ruthless attacking play in the first half, Leicester responded with some of their own. Within minutes of the restart, Shinji Okazaki played Musa through to race away and score.

The industrious Nigerian was not finished there either, pressuring the Barca back-line into an error, then collecting Jeffrey Schlupp’s centre to unleash an unstoppable blast.

However, Mujica swept a finish high into the corner in the 84th minute to thwart hopes of a fightback.

Leicester can now look forward to the Community Shield final against Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday, while Barca play Liverpool at the same stadium the day before.

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