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Leicester City 3 Burnley 0: Slimani nets brace on Premier League bow

Islam Slimani marked his Premier League debut with a pair of headed goals as Leicester City eased to a 3-0 win over Burnley on Saturday.

The Algeria international signed for the champions for a reported club-record fee of around £30million on transfer deadline day and wasted little time in endearing himself to the King Power Stadium faithful.

After a 4-1 humbling at Liverpool last weekend, Leicester bounced back in fine style with a 3-0 win at Club Brugge on their Champions League bow in midweek, and they were comfortably the better side once again here.

Slimani, one of two changes from that defeat at Anfield, opened the scoring in first-half injury time when he rose to powerfully head home Christian Fuchs’ excellent set-piece delivery.

And his second arrived straight after the interval, another close-range header following good work from compatriot Riyad Mahrez, whose low cross deflected in off Ben Mee late on to cap a resounding win.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche strayed from his usual 4-4-2 formation, leaving out Sam Vokes in favour of an extra midfielder in the shape of record signing Jeff Hendrick, but Andre Gray was left all too isolated as the Clarets fell to a third defeat in five this season.

By contrast, the champions posed a frequent threat, promise of which could be seen midway through the opening half when Mahrez embarked on a scintillating run before forcing a save from the feet of Tom Heaton at his near post.

Steven Defour had opened his Burnley account from 30 yards in last week’s 1-1 draw with Hull City, but he failed to convert a free header from close range here with his weak effort comfortably saved by Ron-Robert Zieler, making his first start with Kasper Schmeichel missing out due to concussion.

Less than a minute later the Foxes ought to have gone ahead when Fuchs swung in a superb cross from the left and an unmarked Mahrez headed wide from six yards with Heaton helpless.

Slimani tested Heaton with a drive from the edge of the box, but the goalkeeper had no chance in first-half stoppage time as the Algerian buried Fuchs’ left-wing free-kick with a powerful header.

Leicester carried that momentum into the second half and doubled their lead three minutes after the restart when Mahrez’s low cross flicked off the heel of Jamie Vardy and into the path of Slimani, who nodded in from close range.

The hosts were not content to sit back on their lead, however, with Mahrez, Daniel Amartey and Fuchs all going close in the space of 30 seconds as the Burnley defence scrambled.

Dyche did introduce Vokes and reverted to 4-4-2, but it made little difference as Leicester got the third their dominance deserved when Mee inadvertently turned home Mahrez’s cross 12 minutes from time.

Sat 17 Sep, 2016
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