Leicester 1-0 Porto: 'Dragon Slayer' Islam Slimani puts visitors to the sword with trademark header on Foxes' Champions League home debut
- Leicester City top Group G after defeating Porto on their home debut in the Champions League
- 'Dragon Slayer' Islam Slimani opened the scoring with a typical header from Riyad Mahrez's cross
- Jesus Corona rattled the upright with a deflected shot off Marc Albrighton in the closing minutes
- The Foxes lead Group G, two point ahead of FC Copenhagen, after two wins from as many games
Keep this up and Claudio Ranieri can start looking ahead to two-legged ties of his own. Four more points might do it and another win here over FC Bruges later in the tournament appears a distinct possibility.
They rode their luck a little to see out victory – most notably when Jesus Corona smacked the post in the closing stages as Kasper Schmeichel failed to gather a cross. But the intensity of their game, the inter-changing of their forward line, appears able to trouble even Europe’s seasoned performers.
Leicester summer signing Islam Slimani wheels away after scoring the winner with a typically brave header
Slimani, who has a superb record against Porto, stoops to head home from Riyad Mahrez's first half cross
Jamie Vardy (left) races to celebrate Leicester's first ever Champions League home goal with scorer Slimani
The decisive goal came courtesy of Islam Slimani, the so-called Dragon Slayer who so frequently tormented Porto while a Sporting Lisbon player. He scored against them a month ago for his former team an continued to breathe fire here. He has now helped inflict Porto’s only two defeats of the season.
Leicester’s supporters will be wondering what all the fuss regarding this competition was about. Next up, Copenhagen visit. Win that and it will be party time.
The incredulity that Leicester fans feel seeing their team play in the Champions League will probably last for as long as the club are in the competition.
There were certainly more than a few rubbing their eyes last night as the anthem played for the first time in this part of England.
The ground was full early with supporters making an unwavering racket a good 15 minutes before kick-off. There had only been 1,400 or so allowed to travel to the match in Bruges, so here was a chance for 20 times that amount to revel in Leicester’s ‘European Tour’.
The clappers which became synonymous with their Premier League title march were introduced to continental opponents.
The atmosphere was the kind of edgy excitement that comes from entering uncharted terrain and has long ceased accompanying this tournament at the Emirates, the Allianz Arena or other stadiums we are not allowed to call by their usual names because of UEFA’s commercial rules.
So the King Power was Leicester City Stadium for the night and as the teams strode out a trio of menacing banners were unfurled from the South Stand. ‘Forever Fearless’ was separated by a pair of eerie fox eyes. At the first whistle the roar was enormous.
Leicester unfurled an enormous Foxes 'Forever Fearless' banner ahead of their home Champions League debut
Foxes new signing Slimani (right) was known as the 'Dragon Slayer' because of his knack of scoring against Porto
Defender Robert Huth (centre) wasted Leicester's first opportunity to open the scoring by glancing wide
Former Real keeper Iker Casillas (left) instructs his defence as Jamie Vardy loiters close to goal
Porto midfielder Andre Andre (right) was fortunate to escape punishment after a rash challenge on Danny Drinkwater
Leicester's eccentric manager Claudio Ranieri pulls a deadpan expression as he watches from the sidelines
That electricity was momentarily unplugged in the third minute when Porto midfielder Andre Silva beat Wes Morgan’s offside trap and Kasper Schmeichel looked to have advanced too far too eagerly. But Silva’s lob drifted just wide and the hosts were reprieved.
From then on, Leicester took the game to their more established opponents. They were quick, sharp to second balls, and pressed Porto back with pace and drive.
A long-throw by Christian Fuchs caused havoc in Porto’s area just as Luis Hernandez did from the other flank in Belgium. Back-pedaling centre half Felipe diverted the ball just wide of his own post.
In the 14th minute Marc Albrighton’s deep free-kick found Slimani, who flicked on but only into the arms of Iker Cassilas.
Porto forward Adrian Lopez (centre) is overwhelmed by Leicester players as he tries to get a shot away
Last season's Premier League player of the Year Riyad Mahrez takes part in an aerial battle
The Algeria international tries a trademark free-kick but cannot get his effort over the Porto wall
Slimani, who had previously scored six goals in as many games against Porto, gets in front of his marker
The so-called 'King of Headers' races to the corner flag to celebrate Leicester's opening goal on 25 minutes
Slimani pumps his fists as Leicester snatch a first-half lead against their Group G clash at the King Power Stadium
Jamie Vardy was linking well with his strike partner, looking for knock-downs and charging into the box, one promising cross heading for Riyad Mahrez narrowly intercepted by Porto’s defence.
Leicester may be offering a pale imitation of themselves in domestic competition but they have approached the Champions League with clinical determination, undaunted by the supposed higher level.
In the 25th minute they took the lead with a goal to rival any scored across Europe last night. Danny Drinkwater and Christian Fuchs were involved before Albrighton hit a superb crossfield pass from left to right that fell perfectly to Mahrez.
The Algerian controlled in an instant, beat Alex Telles with that trademark shuffle of the feet and whipped an inswinging cross crying out to be hit. The ball flew over Vardy but straight on to Slimani’s head and moments later he was wheeling off having beaten Casillas to score his seventh goal in seven games against Porto.
Porto players argue with Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir as the leave the pitch at half-time
England international Danny Drinkwater (right) goes in for an acrobatic challenge
Leicester captain Wes Morgan wins a defensive header under pressure from Adrian Lopez of Porto
Porto forward Octavio goes through the back of Daniel Amartey during a game that produced several yellow cards
Slimani tries to control a high cross as Leicester strive to hold out in the closing stages of the match
The Portuguese team did have their moments. A deceptive shot by Miguel Layun required Schmeichel to be alert, while the same player hit a flat free-kick just past the post.
But Claudio Ranieri’s side looked comfortable, back to the tight defensive unit that strangled the life out of Premier League opponents last season.
Just before the hour Vardy instigated another break that eventually led to Mahrez unleashing a low drive that Casillas pushed round the post. He won’t be the last goalkeeper tested by Leicester.