CITY 2 BRIGHTON 0
Report by Eddie Blount
As a contest this match was over in a mere 47 seconds, being the time it took for City to go ahead. The moment the ball was delivered to Mahrez with only one defender in attendance – don’t they know he has to be double-marked at least – the die was cast. He duly went past his marker, shimmied across the line of the penalty area before releasing a trade-mark left-foot shot which proved too hot for their keeper to hold. The ball spilled out to the on-rushing Okazaki who gleefully netted with ease.
Little were we to know that this was to be 50% of the worthwhile action in the entire half. The other moment of note came when a defender slipped and conceded possession to Okazaki -who else? – close to the near post but at an angle. The Japanese striker saw that Vardy was more centrally positioned but England’s No 9 made a real hash of his effort to force the ball into the net and the chance was lost.
In Match of the Day terms that was it for the first half as both sides competed intensely for the greater possession stats, eventually won by Brighton by the way. City had clearly been told by Shakey that they must keep possession for longer and not give it away quickly as they often do.
Brighton had worked out that they would concede fewer goals if the opposition had less of the ball. They were completely unaffected by the fact that they were a goal down and every corner and potentially dangerous free-kick was defended by the entire team making a break-away virtually impossible.
The crowd were like a ship in the Doldrums gently rocking in the afternoon sun – and that was not just the Brighton fans who must have got used to it last week against Man City. City fans briefly came out of their stupor to remind the opposition that we were ‘Champions of England – you’ll never say that!’ There is no answer to that and there wasn’t!
To the consternation of both sets of fans both teams turned up for the second half and the torture recommenced though in fairness marginally less painfully. On 55 minutes City won a corner delivered well to the far post by Mahrez. Here it was met by the head of close-season signing Harry Maguire and pushed into the top corner by the despairing hand of the Seagull’s keeper.
Maguire had a good game and provided the moment of greatest relief from the general tedium with a mazy dribble from the half-way line which ended with his being fouled on the edge of their penalty box – surely a first this century for City centre-backs! The free-kick was in a dangerous position but the training-ground routine which followed will have to be practised at least 50 times as a punishment for the shambles which ensued as the chance was completely wasted
Brighton had two shots on goal in the second half, one could have been saved by anyone in the crowd, the other requiring Schmeichel to make a smart save to his right. Stir in a right-wing move ending in a good low cross that was forced wide under pressure and that was all the visitors managed as an attacking force
There may be matches which turn out to be duller than this one but at least we bagged three points and nearly all the players had decent games in spite of the lack of entertainment on offer. Captain Morgan for once was somewhat less than commanding at times and it will be interesting to see what happens when Huth is fit to return as Maguire clearly deserves a run in the side.
To end on a brighter note it was good to hear the excellent reception given to the returning Knockaert who came on as a second -half sub and who showed his appreciation to the Leicester crowd at the end of the match. Nice!
City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, James, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 76) , Vardy (Gray 90 +3)
Brighton: Ryan, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner, March, Stephens, Proepper, Murphy, Gross (Knockaert 62), Murray (Hemed 66)
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation