Leicester City came back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 in Russia, with Patson Daka incredibly scoring all four goals for the Foxes in a Europa League classic.
The hosts took the lead through Alexander Sobolev’s deflected opener, with Jordan Larsson finishing calmly in the 44th minute to double their advantage.
Daka scored his first almost immediately after, however, and then grabbed a second just after the break before tucking home in the 54th minute to complete a nine-minute treble.
The Zambian striker was not done there, however, lashing in his fourth with 12 minutes of normal time remaining – a necessary goal for the Foxes as Sobolev set up a nervy finish with an 86th-minute strike.
Victory sees Brendan Rodgers’ side earn their first Europa League win of the campaign, lifting them at least temporarily into second place in Group C, having been bottom coming into the contest.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 20, 2021
Sobolev opened the scoring for Spartak in fortuitous fashion as his cross from the left took a wicked deflection that caught Kasper Schmeichel out at his near post.
Leicester looked threatening in the opening 15 minutes but faded as the half wore on and went 2-0 down when Caglar Soyuncu was robbed by Victor Moses as the Foxes tried to play out from defence, with the former Chelsea winger cutting back into the box for Larsson to side-foot home.
Daka reduced the arrears just a minute later, however, running onto Kelechi Iheanacho’s ball over the top and slotting past Aleksandr Maksimenko, despite the goalkeeper getting a touch.
The Foxes levelled the scores just three minutes after half-time via the same combination as Iheanacho slid the ball across the face of goal for Daka to tap in and Leicester’s comeback was completed as the striker grabbed his hat-trick, racing onto Youri Tielemans’ perfectly weighted throughball and slotting between the legs of Maksimenko.
The 23-year-old centre-forward hit his fourth goal in the 78th minute to extend Leicester’s lead, racing in behind as James Maddison played him into the box before firing a left-footed effort inside the near post.
Daka’s fourth goal proved necessary as Sobolev arrived in the penalty area to prod Moses’ cut-back from the byline in and reduce the deficit with four minutes of normal time left, but Spartak were unable to find a leveller before the final whistle.
What does it mean? Leicester put an end to winless European run
Leicester had won just one of their seven Europa League matches before this one (D3 L3) and were winless in four (D2 L2), failing to score in three of their last four matches in the competition.
However, despite a shaky start, the Daka-inspired Foxes rallied to fight back from two goals behind and claim a much-needed win that takes them back into contention for qualification from the group, which also contains Legia Warsaw and Napoli, on Thursday.
Daka makes Leicester history
On a scintillating individual night, four-goal hero Daka becomes both the first Leicester player to score a hat-trick in European competition and the first Zambian player to do so for any club in a major European competition (excluding qualifiers).
The 23-year-old striker scored all four of his shots on target and also created one chance as he single-handedly dragged the Foxes to victory.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 20, 2021
Spartak go on record losing run at home
The defeat against Leicester means Spartak have now lost four successive home matches in all European competition for the first time.
Despite beating Napoli 3-2 last time out, if the Serie A side beat Legia Warsaw, Spartak could find themselves bottom of the group, having been second before this defeat.
Leicester visit Brentford in the Premier League on Sunday, with Spartak travelling to face Zenit later the same day.
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