Wilfred Ndidi’s stunning first goal for Leicester City and Demarai Gray’s man-of-the-match performance earned some respite for embattled Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri by securing a 3-1 win over Derby County in an FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday.
Following an entertaining 2-2 draw in the first match at Pride Park, both managers made sweeping changes to their respective line-ups for the clash at King Power Stadium, where Andy King headed the hosts into the lead in the 46th minute.
Gray cut inside from the left flank and crossed to the back post, where Marc Albrighton nodded back from the byline for King to score.
Derby equalised when Abdoul Camara’s free-kick took a big deflection off the outstretched leg of Ben Chilwell just past the hour mark and neither side could force a winner in regulation time.
Leicester restored their lead four minutes into extra time, Ndidi opening his account with a long-range rocket after the Rams’ defence unwisely backed off the advancing Nigerian.
238 – Wilfred Ndidi scored just 238 seconds after coming on for Leicester against Derby. Introduction.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 8, 2017
And Gray, impressive throughout, capped off the win by dancing through the Derby backline to stab the ball above goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell and into the roof of the net with six minutes to go.
The win may ease at least some of the pressure on Ranieri, whose reigning champions are just one point outside the Premier League relegation zone ahead of a trip to fellow strugglers Swansea City on Sunday.
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