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Match Report: Leicester City 3 - 2 Millwall

A second-half comeback returns the Foxes to the top of the table

Leicester City v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Recap

Leicester City fought back and then held on against a determined Millwall side on Wednesday evening at the King Power, ultimately taking the full three points. The Lions led at the half through a Tom Bradshaw header. City struck back early in the second period with goals from Jannik Vestergaard, Patson Daka, and Ricardo Pereira. Wes Harding got one back for the visitors in injury time, but that would prove the last shot of the match.

The Foxes did Foxes things, possessing the ball for 80% of the match and displaying patience in all areas of the pitch. So long as this keeps working and producing second-half displays like this, I’m not going to complain. Maresca seems to know what he’s doing, even if it sometimes baffles me.

And thus, he completes my very incomplete Leicester manager two-axis graph!

It was a fine match for the entire front five and, while I know I just won’t shut up about this, it’s stunning to me what Wilfred Ndidi has become. He seems to instinctively* “get” what the gaffer wants him to do and he executes it brilliantly. That said, I think Ricardo is my MoTM: Even without the goal, he was everywhere on the right side of the pitch and he’s getting more adventurous with his passing.

The win gives the Foxes 52 points from 21 matches, which is the fastest any Championship side has ever achieved that point total. It’s also only good enough to lead Ipswich Town by a single point. It does, however, open an 11-point cushion over 3rd place Leeds United. We travel to Birmingham on Monday to square off against Birmingham City on Monday, and then host Rotherham United the following Saturday. I don’t normally look three matches ahead but after that? It’s a Boxing Day clash of the titans as we face off against Ipswich Town in Suffolk.

Lineups

Leicester City: Mads Hermansen, Ricardo Pereira (C), Conor Coady (James Justin 56’), Jannik Vestergaard, Wout Faes, Wilfred Ndidi, Harry Winks, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Dennis Praet 79’), Abdul Fatawu, Stephy Mavididi, Patson Daka (Tom Cannon 71’)

Millwall: Matija Sarkic, Jake Cooper, Wes Harding, Murray Wallace, Ryan Leonard, George Saville, Allan Campbell, George Honeyman, Brooke Norton-Cuffy, Tom Bradshaw, Duncan Watmore


Key Moments and Notes

1’- If you couldn’t tell from the lineups, it’s Faes at left back tonight. James Justin is on the bench, so it looks like he’s just being rested.

9’- GOAL! Millwall’s first venture into the Leicester half results in a goal. A loose pass from Vestergaard turns the ball over in the City right. Ricardo shuts down the initial attack, but the Lions stay at it and get a cross in. Bradshaw does really well to stoop and glance the ball into the far corner.

12’- Wes Harding is done all ends up by Fatawu so the defender scythes him down from behind. Easiest decision to show a yellow you’ll ever see.

19’- Close! A through ball finds Bradshaw with Vestergaard trying to keep up with him. The Dane does just enough to put Millwall’s goalscorer off and his shot can only find the side netting.

21’- Close? Not really. Daka wins a free kick 35 yards from the visitor’s goal. KDH takes it and finds Faes on the wrong side of the penalty spot. The Belgian gets his header on target but there’s not enough pace to beat the keeper.

26’- Fatawu nutmegs the right-back Wallace and the defender slaps the Ghanaian winger in the face to halt his progress. Naughty. It’s just a yellow and that’s probably the right call.

31’- Close? Nah. City work a brilliant training ground move from a corner. Mavididi’s low ball finds Daka’s run, but the Zambia striker gets it about as wrong as is possible and his scuffed shot dribbles out for a goal kick.

34’- Close! Fatawu is just entirely too much for this defence. His cross puts it on a platter for Ndidi. The former Genk midfielder puts it just over the bar, but there’s an equaliser coming and it’s going to come from the right side.

36’- Oh my! The referee gets it all kinds of wrong. Fatawu zooms past his man and finds himself alone against Harding. The defender dives into the challenge, missing the ball entirely and kicking Fatawu in both legs before the ball goes out off of the winger. The referee gives a corner. It should be a penalty and a yellow for Harding (who is already on a card).

39’- The Foxes win a free kick outside the Lions’ area. It’s taken by....JANNIK VESTERGAARD! His effort is on target but lacks pace and the keeper makes a fairly simple save.

HALF TIME: Leicester City 0 - 1 Millwall

45’- Millwall’s right back Wallace is off which, to be fair, wasn’t exactly a shock. On the Leicester side, Ndidi and Dewsbury-Hall have switched sides.

46’- Close! Daka does incredibly well to maintain possession in the Millwall box and fires a cross to the opposite side. Ndidi is in space with his back to the goal, but he controls well, wheels and blasts it but the keeper makes a fine diving save to deny the Nigerian.

48’- GOAL! That was coming. A Leicester corner is cleared as far as KDH. He fires in a raking cross that comes off Cooper, then off of Vestergaard, and loops into the net. Cooper’s a little lucky because he was pulling the former Southampton man’s shirt with both hands.

52’- GOAL! Goodness. All roads lead through Wilfred Ndidi. Winks finds the midfielder’s run into acres of space in the box. He lifts a cross with his left boot that evades the keeper and finds Daka two yards from goal. The former Salzburg striker can’t believe his luck and taps home for his second goal in two starts.

Obvious Photoshop, right?

58’- Close! Fatawu’s inswinging cross is diabolical, evading the defenders and the keeper. Mavididi nips in at the far post and nearly heads home, but can only direct it into the side-netting.

60’- Enzo Maresca makes his first change of the night, replacing Coady with James Justin. After much speculation by the commentary team, Justin slots in at left-back and Faes moves to the right of Vestergaard.

68’- Not much cooking right now. Millwall are still sitting back trying to avoid going down another goal before what will presumably be a flurry at the finish. Maresca hauls off Daka and introduces Tom Cannon to see the match out.

72’- For the second time, Ndidi puts a defender off and wins a corner. You can take the man out of the DMC position, but you can’t take the DMC out of the man.

75’- Zian Fleming and Kevin Nisbet replace the starting strikers. These two are Millwall’s top scorers, so I expect this is when Millwall will come out of their shell.

77’- GOAL! Game over. Mavididi sends KDH on his merry way. He pulls it back towards Cannon whose shot gets blocked. It falls to Ricardo, who blasts it off of Ndidi’s posterior and into the back of the net. Dewsbury-Hall has a chat with Cannon, apparently suggesting that he should have continued his run instead of checking it for a pullback. That’s KDH’s last contribution as Dennis Praet comes on for him.

Leicester City v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship
Show some respect. This man was once the best right back in Europe. Now he’s the best whatever-this-newfangled-position-is-called-hey-kids-get-off-my-lawn!
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

80’- Close! A low cross finds Honeyman at the far post for Millwall. The Lions’ midfielder’s shot is on target and it beats Hermansen, but Faes is there to clear it off the line.

85’- There’s a clash of heads as Ricardo and Norton-Cuffy go up for a clearance. The Millwall man comes off worse and needs treatment, but he appears to be OK.

90+3’- GOAL! Leicester concede a second goal for the first time this season. Mavididi gives up a corner and it’s an absolute beauty. The first effort is blocked but it falls for Harding who flicks it over Hermansen for a goal.

90+5’- I’m more nervous up 3-2 than I was down 1-0. Funny old game.

Yeah, no...I’m gonna worry at times like this.

FULL TIME: Leicester City 3 - 2 Millwall