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Soccer News of Saturday, 7 January 2023


Resurgent Iheanacho fires Leicester into FA cup fourth-round

Kelechi Iheanacho Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho’s straight-forward goal propelled Leicester City to the fourth round in the FA cup on Saturday.

Leicester bided their time, built from the back and waited for Gillingham’s defensive hordes to buckle.

Caglar Soyuncu prompted from the back, Nampalys Mendy added grit; McAteer and captain Marc Albrighton offered wide options, but Youri Tielemans struggled to impose himself, while Jamie Vardy and Iheanacho were isolated until the latter launched a curler just wide shortly before the break.

Gillingham defended deeply, but calmly. Max Ehmer and Will Wright were an imperious central defensive pairing, while goalkeeper Jake Turner was spared the busy lunchtime he might have anticipated.

To the surprise and delight of their supporters, Gillingham went into the break level and deservedly, so Turner was called into meaningful action just after the re-start when he tipped over an Albrighton dipper, but Gillingham began to make inroads themselves and only a terrific Jannik Vestergaard block foiled Jefferies before Hakeeb Adelakun hacked wide.

Just as they looked about to wobble Leicester snuck ahead.

Tielemans’s wind-assisted cross fell to McAteer, whose pullback was deflected into Iheanacho’s path and the Nigerian with just one goal to his name all season showed no mercy from 10 yards.

Now Leicester looked more at ease with themselves and soon Turner was saving smartly from Iheanacho with his legs and Vardy with his palm.

Level, Leicester had laboured, ahead they were composed. The prospect of peril had passed.