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Soccer PICS: Leicester win Community Shield

August 08, 2021 09:55 IST
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Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Saturday

IMAGE: Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters

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."

Manchester City start the Premier League season at Tottenham Hotspur on Aug. 15 while Leicester are at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers the day before.

PSG make winning start as Messi arrival looms

Paris St Germain's Mauro Icardi celebrates scoring their second goal against Troyes in their Ligue 1 match at Stade de l'Aube, Troyes, France, on Saturday

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Mauro Icardi celebrates scoring their second goal against Troyes in their Ligue 1 match at Stade de l'Aube, Troyes, France, on Saturday. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Paris St. Germain started their Ligue 1 campaign with a comeback 2-1 win at promoted Troyes on Saturday while anticipating the arrival of six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi who appears set to join the French giants.

Messi will be holding a news conference at 1000 GMT on Sunday after Barcelona said earlier this week that the 34-year-old Argentine will leave the club.

French daily newspaper L'Equipe reported on Friday that Messi is set to join Paris St Germain after Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club had been forced to part ways with Messi because his high wages coupled with strict La Liga financial rules could jeopardise their future.

Following the hard-fought win over Troyes, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino remained tight-lipped about signing Messi having said on Friday that his compatriot was "an option that was being evaluated."

"His name is associated with different clubs, there are plenty of rumours," Pochettino was quoted as saying by L'Equipe.

"We will see what happens in the coming days. The players have stayed focused. We did not start the game well and we gave away too many chances for my liking.

"But we have to give Troyes credit for making it difficult for us, they showed a lot of energy. We would have liked to win 5-0 but we'll take what we achieved."

The speculation proved to be an unwelcome distraction for PSG early on at Troyes, who took a shock ninth-minute lead when Oualid El Hajjam beat visiting goalkeeper Kaylor Navas with a firm downward header after a Dylan Chambost corner.

But the visitors, who relinquished the French league title to Lille last season, hit back with a quickfire brace as new signing Achraf Hakimi levelled in the 19th minute before Mauro Icardi turned the tide in the 21st.

Hakimi, who joined PSG from Inter Milan during the summer break, blasted in a sumptuous volley from a tight angle before Icardi found the roof of the net with the outside of his foot thanks to good work by Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe twice came close in the second half with one of his shots cleared of the line and the other flying over the bar before PSG were forced to hang on in the closing stages.

Navas, who kept out three efforts from Rinaud Ripart, denied Troyes a share of the spoils in stoppage time as he palmed away the striker's glancing header from close range with PSG on the back foot in the last 15 minutes.

In the day's early fixture, Olympique Lyonnais were held to a 1-1 home draw by Brest after substitute Islam Slimani scored with his first touch of the ball to cancel out an Irvin Cardona opener for the visitors.

Lille start their title defence at Metz on Sunday while Olympique Marseille visit Montpellier in the day's other standout fixture.

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