Kelechi Iheanacho scored a late penalty against his old club as FA Cup winners Leicester City beat Premier League champions Manchester City 1-0 in the Community Shield curtain-raiser to the season on Saturday.
The victory was the second in a row at London’s Wembley Stadium for the Foxes, who beat favourites Chelsea by the same scoreline in the May FA Cup final but finished fifth in the Premier League.
The game seemed set for a penalty shoot-out when second half substitute Iheanacho went down after a lunge by Nathan Ake in the 89th minute, and then fired into the top corner from the spot.
“I’ve been practising penalties. I missed one last season so I’ve been practising in pre-season. I had just one thing in my mind: just shoot at an angle and hit it hard, and that’s what I did,” he told ITV television.
Jack Grealish had earlier come off the bench for Manchester City but there was to be no dream debut for the England midfielder in his first game as the Premier League’s most expensive player and at the scene of July’s Euro 2020 final.
Signed for 100 million pounds ($138.71 million), Grealish raised a cheer with his 64th minute arrival but was otherwise frustrated on a wet evening in North-West London.
With senior players rested or recovering from injuries, City manager Pep Guardiola fielded an unfamiliar line-up with five academy starlets in his squad and teenagers Sam Edozie and Cole Palmer starting.
“The performance was really really good, especially for this stage of the season and the way we played in the second half,” said the Spaniard.
“In general given the short preparation time we had, all the loan players, all the academy players have been exceptional.”
Leicester, who suffered a major blow earlier in midweek when French defender Wesley Fofana broke his leg in a friendly, were close to full strength with evergreen striker Jamie Vardy up front.
Vardy, 34, came closest to scoring in the first half when a hooked shot was pushed onto the post by goalkeeper Zack Steffen just before the break.
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel also tipped a dangerously dipping Ilkay Gundogan free kick over the bar in the seventh minute.
The match was limited to some 53,000 fans.
“There was a great feeling coming here today. Every Leicester player, fan, staff member coming here, it was a really special feeling,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told BBC radio.
“We wanted to take that into the game and keep that feeling going, and thankfully we’ve done that.”
Man City start the Premier League season at Tottenham Hotspur on Aug. 15 while Leicester are at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers the day before.
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