AEK Athens 1 – 2 Leicester City
Jamie Vardy became Leicester City’s oldest European goalscorer as they beat AEK Athens to make it two wins from two in the Europa League.The 33-year-old gave them the lead from a penalty after he was fouled by keeper Panagiotis Tsintotas.
The Foxes looked comfortable when Hamza Choudhury doubled the lead with a smart side-footed finish. But Muamer Tankovic gave AEK hope after ghosting in behind the Foxes defence moments after coming off the bench.
The former Fulham player almost equalised two minutes later but smashed his 10-yard shot over the crossbar. Cengiz Under, on his first start for Leicester, almost restored the two-goal lead but his curling effort hit the woodwork.
In the end they would not need another goal. Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers revealed before the game that defenders Jonny Evans and Timothy Castagne are injured, with the latter likely to be out until after the November international break. Vardy’s pace and finishing makes such a difference to Leicester and it was evident again in the Greek capital.
This was his return to the starting line-up after a calf injury – although he did climb off the bench at the weekend to score the winner against Arsenal.
He made his own piece of history in Athens as he raced on to James Maddison’s through ball and went round the keeper, who took him down. Tsintotas got a touch to Vardy’s spot-kick but it was too powerful to keep out.
He takes Wes Morgan’s record as the oldest player to score for Leicester in Europe. Vardy is 33 years and 292 days, whereas Morgan was 240 days younger when he scored in the Champions League against Sevilla in March 2017. The former England striker has won (four) and scored (five) more penalties in all competitions than anyone else who plays in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
Maddison was impressive too, and his corner led to the second goal. AEK Athens could not clear and Wesley Fofana got the final touch before it ran to Choudhury, who confidently finished. AEK have not won a home game in a European group stage in 13 games over 10 years, but they did make the Foxes work hard for their win after Tankovic’s lively second-half appearance.
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