Kelechi Iheanacho of Nigeria came in the second half of the game and counseled Frederic Guilbert’s 28-minute opener. The visitors took charge of the game after the first 28 minutes of the game when Guilbert jabbed in Anwar El-Ghazi cross. Aston Villa were looking behind in everything except for the most important which was scoreline which they were ahead. The 1-0 lead was just perfect for Grealish and co. until Iheanacho came in.
Brendan Rodgers and his troops were getting everything right except for the finishing touches. They had scoring chances in the first half of the game but failed to find the back of the net. They went to the here teams in the league this season and it will be bad to lose in front of their home fans. They came back strong into the second half of the game correcting almost all their first errors.
The introduction of Hamza Choudhury and Kelechi Iheanacho really changed the game. Nigerian international Iheanacho did well to finish a précised pass from skipper Jamie Vardy’s pass with 16 minutes left to go. The Foxes were rewarded for their incessant second-half pressure and attempts with a goal from Iheanacho.
Aston Villa before now has been struggling with injuries after goalkeeper Tom Heaton and striker Wesley were ruled out for the season. They defended with organization and resilience to protect the 28 minutes goal scored by Frederic Guilbert. All their plans and efforts came to not as the equalizer came. They had a couple of chances with Ezri Konsa’s header meeting the bar but Leicester had more chances. Orjan Nyland saved two balls going to the net from James Maddison and Vardy before the goal finally came.
Gareth Southgate England national team coach was in the stands at The King Power Stadium to possibly select his finalizes for Euro 2020. Villa defender Tyrone Mings and Leicester pair James Maddison and Ben Chilwell have already won full caps. Grealish, Aston Villa skipper is one player who has been in top form this season and Southgate will surely be planning on adding him to his squad.
Jack Grealish is yet to make the breakthrough to full England status. His midfield battle with Maddison, who is yet to fully convince Southgate, was an intriguing sub-plot to this semi-final. And the Villa captain did not disappoint after all. Villa spent much of the game on the back foot but Grealish was composed and strong on the ball.
Maddison has also been impressive this season and he is currently ahead of Grealish in Southgate’s squad. The 24-year-old chance of playing in the finals with Manchester City who thrashed United 3-1 on Tuesday. Leicester City was not quite at their fluent best that has taken them into second place in the Premier League.
The Foxes showed real determination and patience to maintain the pressure until the goal finally came. Jamie Vardy turned creator with an astute pass that released Iheanacho for his late 12 yards shot that produced the goal.
Brendan Rodgers on Kelechi Iheanacho
“Kelechi is a big talent. He didn’t play a lot of football at Manchester City and it takes a bit of time to adapt. “But since I’ve come in his confidence has grown and grown and we believe in him and believe in his talent and this season he has really come to the fore.
“He works so hard every day. He’s either making a goal or scoring a goal now and he works so hard in his pressing game. He was a threat when he came on against Villa and I’m delighted for him.”
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith:
“It should be a good second leg, all square and a boisterous crowd, a full house. “It wasn’t the performance I wanted, Leicester were the better team but we defended well at times. We have to be honest, they created chances as well. We were loose on the ball tonight, we’ve got to do better.
“I’m certainly content with a draw, just not the performance. We gave away a farcical goal. Ezri Konsa has got brain dazzled. A disappointing goal but it sums up some of our performance on the night. We did get in a lot of tackles and blocks.”
The second leg at Villa Park takes place on Tuesday, 28 January.