Leicester City recorded their first win of the season with goals from Shinji Okazaki and Harry Maguire inflicting Brighton’s second defeat in two games.
The seats of the King Power Stadium were filled in every corner as the Foxes and the Seagulls were both looking to record their first points of the season. It was clear from the passionate noise of the opposing fans that both teams were eager to see a strong performance after promising, yet fruitless displays in their opening games.
It took all of 1 minute for the hosts to find their rhythm after an early instinctive finish from Japanese attacker Okazaki. Riyhad Mahrez found the ball on the right flank, before dazzling Brighton’s left-back Marcus Suttner with a trademark shimmy on the inside to open up and shoot. The relatively tame shot was spilled by Albion keeper Mat Ryan, presenting the well-positioned Japanese captain with an easy poke into the net.
It would have been easy for Chris Houghton’s Brighton side to rest on their laurels and feel panicked but it was the visitors who ultimately recorded 55% possesion – however that is the way Leicester famously entice their opponents to open up.
Leicester were dominant in defence for the majority of the first half and held back Brighton’s few real chances on goal. Glenn Murray managed to squeeze in behind the lines late on in the half and find the back of the net but was rightly adjudged offside – much to the annoyance of the 3,000 travelling supporters.
As the second half kicked-off it was the Albion who came out looking the more improved out of the two sides. The Foxes were eager to catch the Seagulls out on their well oiled counter-attacking plan but with the solid defensive pairing of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk it was made harder than they were perhaps expecting. 20 year-old Wilfred Ndidi impressed in the middle of the field for the home side with his quick feet and ability to regain and cement possesion.
And it was the hosts who cemented their lead in the 54th minute after a deep corner found the head of home debutant Harry Maguire. Signed from Hull in the summer, Maguire rose tall to get above the hesitant Brighton defence to nod the ball into the top left corner.
The rest of the second half was edged by Brighton in possession but the clinical finish was lacking when it mattered, creating only 2 shots on target.
The increase in possession is the main positive that the Seagullls can take from the visit to the Midlands because after seeing only 20% of the ball against Manchester City it was important to start to feel confident in possession. Their second test in the top tier has seen improvement but it will remain to be seen if they can convert that improvement into points.
Meanwhile for Leicester, It wasn’t a game in which they can say they dominated but after a tight game at Arsenal last week, the team was much more needing of strong win and 3 points to kick start their season. Strong performances from Ndidi, Mahrez and Okazaki will fuel the side’s ambitions ahead of their visit to Manchester United next Saturday but the 2016 Champions will face a much harder test against the current top teams.