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Jamie Vardy on target as Leicester hammer Blackburn

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Oct 2023

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Leicester returned to the top of the Sky Bet Championship with an impressive 4-1 win at Blackburn.

In the first ever meeting between two former Premier League winners in the second tier, it was Enzo Maresca’s pace-setters who prevailed.

Wout Faes gave the Foxes an early lead and although they were soon pegged back through Rovers’ top scorer Sammie Szmodics, Jamie Vardy restored the lead before half-time with a powerful finish for his fourth of the season.

Their passing style eventually wore down Blackburn and they made the game safe with two goals in the final 10 minutes, with Kelechi Iheanacho converting an 82nd-minute penalty before Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s clever finish six minutes later capped a superb afternoon for the visitors who have won eight of their nine league games.

Rovers dropped to 18th after a fourth defeat in five.

Leicester were quickly into their stride and went ahead in the fourth minute when Abdul Fatawu swung a cross to the far post and Faes outjumped his marker to power a header into the bottom-right corner.

But Blackburn’s high press caught them cold five minutes later when Mads Hermansen’s pass was intercepted by Lewis Travis and the ball found Szmodics who stepped inside Ricardo Pereira before slamming his sixth of the season into the bottom corner.

Leicester struggled to find any rhythm, but Vardy was close to spectacularly regaining the lead when he controlled and let fly with a ferocious shot that clipped the top of the bar.

He made no mistake with a ruthless 28th-minute finish though, as he brilliantly controlled Wilfred Ndidi’s first-time cross from the right before hammering a left-foot strike into the roof of the net.

Although Rovers continued to look a threat, Leicester almost struck a third on the break but Dewsbury-Hall found the side-netting just before the break.

After a positive start to the second half, Blackburn nearly conceded a third when Vardy rounded the goalkeeper and squared to Ndidi but Harry Pickering heroically blocked his shot.

The hosts’ best chance came with 14 minutes to go when Tyrhys Dolan was set free down the left and his pass found Travis whose powerful low drive was brilliantly saved by Hermansen before Jannik Vestergaard blocked Szmodics’ rebound.

It proved crucial as Hayden Carter’s tug on Vestergaard’s shirt in the box gave the Foxes a chance to put the game to bed in the 82nd minute and Iheanacho made no mistake from the spot, slotting his penalty into the left corner with ease.

Dewsbury-Hall added a sumptuous fourth with two minutes remaining, latching onto Yunus Akgun’s pass before beautifully lifting over substitute goalkeeper Leo Wahlstedt from a narrow angle.

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