Stubborn Leeds prevent leaders Leicester opening eight-point gap3 November 2023
Leicester were denied the chance to open an eight-point lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship after a 1-0 defeat to Leeds on Friday night.
The leaders had won their last nine league games in succession, stretching all the way back to September 2, but were severely restricted by Daniel Farke's side, who allowed them to register just a single shot on target.
Georginio Rutter scored the only goal of the game - his third of the season - on 58 minutes with a close-range finish after Dan James' corner caused panic in the box, facilitating a simple tap-in for the France U21 international.
The visitors had Illan Meslier to thank for preserving their lead deep into stoppage time, as the goalkeeper leapt to claw away a Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall header that looked destined for the top left corner.
Leicester retain an element of comfort at the top of the table ahead of Saturday's action, five points clear of second-placed Ipswich and 11 clear of Leeds, who move onto 28 points after their sixth win in their last eight matches.
How Leeds slowed the Leicester promotion train
Leeds pressed with familiar intensity in front of a bumper crowd on a chilly night in Leicestershire and perhaps should have set the tone with an early opener. The visitors won the ball high up the pitch, with Rutter finding Joel Piroe, whose shot from just inside the box missed the target by a considerable distance.
The chance soon came for Leicester to regulate the tempo of the game and start to control possession after one of the more difficult starts they have faced so far this term and, in between two Leeds penalty shouts - one from Rutter, another from Crysencio Summerville - they had the best chance of the first half.
Sporting loanee Abdul Fatawu looped the ball over his man, cut in off the right and smashed a shot against the woodwork with Illan Meslier beaten all ends up.
Leeds had more about them after the break and before the Foxes could react and bring on Kelechi Iheanacho to freshen the attack, they fell behind. Sam Byram drifted away from his marker and met James' corner; Mads Hermansen made a smart reaction save, but Rutter was on hand to apply the finish.
No fewer than 12 goals have been scored by Leicester from the 76th minute onwards so far this season and they were left searching for number 13, with Meslier coming up trumps to thwart Dewsbury-Hall at the death.
Maresca happy with performance despite rare defeat
Leicester's Enzo Maresca:
"First of all, I think it was a very good game. We competed very well, we had some chances and we knew they use the counter-attack and they are very dangerous, but I think we controlled it quite well. From my point of view, the defeat is not fair, but as we always said, we can control the way we behave, but not the result. I'm happy with the performance.
"It's all about the reaction, but we always said in the changing room and between us that the season is very long. We are in a good position and we just need to understand how to improve day-by-day. This is the most important thing."
Farke: Win sends a message, but Championship is relentless
Leeds' Daniel Farke:
"We faced the best side so far in this league, but we also knew, step-by-step we brought ourselves into a top shape and today it was important to play bravely, to press really high all together or to stay disciplined and allow them possession in areas where we could not be hurt and not open any spaces. I think it was a pretty complex performance and a really good game; Leicester were tough opponents and played excellent, but I think, in the end, it was a well-deserved win.
"If you win away at Leicester with a clean sheet and such a situation, definitely it sends a message. But we also have to send the next message in a few days, so I wouldn't overrate it. I'm never over the moon after a good result and I'm not too down after a setback - the Championship is relentless. It's good for our mood, our confidence, good for the table and good that, even against the best sides, we know we can win. We can allow ourselves one or two days to be happy and then the hard work on the training pitch comes again."
Both teams are back in action at 3pm on Saturday November 11. Leicester take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, while Leeds host Plymouth at Home Park.
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This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/leicester-city-vs-leeds-united/report/484873