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Rodgers delighted as Vardy penalty secures Leicester win over Wolves – The Guardian

Rodgers delighted as Vardy penalty secures Leicester win over Wolves – The Guardian

Jamie Vardy scored a penalty and missed another as Leicester edged past Wolves and demonstrated their intention to hang around the top of the table.

This was their sixth win from eight league matches and Brendan Rodgers, whose side also have maximum points from their Europa League campaign, spoke of his satisfaction at making such a strong start to the season despite the injury-enforced absences of several players.

“In any season it’s important that your first steps are important and to have the players out that we’ve had out and to still show that cohesion, quality and resilience, as a manager that is what you want,” he said. “I’m so happy for the players.”

Leicester dominated the first half but required a contentious penalty to take the lead, with Vardy converting after Max Kilman was penalised for handball. There was no debate about Leicester’s second penalty, which was awarded for a foul on the excellent James Justin, but Rui Patrício turned away Vardy’s poorly struck effort.

Wolves improved in the second half and might have equalised if not for terrific defending by the hosts and an outstanding save by Kasper Schmeichel from a shot by Rúben Neves. “The mentality, and the desire not to concede, was so pleasing,” Rodgers said.

In the early stages it looked like Wolves were aiming for nothing more than another scoreless draw to go with the two these sides shared last season. The visitors began with extreme caution.

Leicester have players capable of magic but, as it turned out, the breakthrough came courtesy of the bureaucrats who have imposed the most pernickety possible interpretation of the handball law: Leicester were awarded a penalty when the ball struck the arm of Kilman after Dennis Praet whacked a cross at him from five yards.

The referee, Anthony Taylor, looked at the pitchside screen and decided a spot-kick was the mandatory punishment for an offence the defender had not intended and could not have prevented. Vardy granted no clemency, sending Patrício the wrong way.

The Wolves goalkeeper, Rui Patrício, saves Jamie Vardy’s second penalty of the match. Photograph: Tim Keeton/AFP/Getty Images

Miffed though they were, Wolves did not take their anger out on their opponents and remained meek visitors, hedgehogs with no quills.

Leicester’s superiority was summed up in the 38th minute by the way they earned a second penalty, Justin pouncing on miscontrol by Rayan Aït-Nouri, whose hasty attempt to make amends led to him fouling his opponent. This time, however, Vardy was not so deadly, his shot down the middle allowing Patrício to save with his legs.

That reprieve stoked Wolves into life. They started to pass with more pace and precision and spent the last few minutes of the first half applying belated pressure.

Nearly an hour had elapsed before they forced Schmeichel into a difficult save, Pedro Neto bringing a decent stop from the goalkeeper with a drive from the edge of the box after intricate work by Daniel Podence.

Schmeichel would have been in deeper peril a couple of minutes before that if the superb Wesley Fofana had not intercepted a cross by Nélson Semedo.

Despite their improvement, Wolves were still not showing enough menace to justify the continued absence of Adama Traoré, who began on the bench for the fifth match in a row. He was introduced after an hour and immediately set Leicester’s defenders a scary new challenge, winning a corner with his first storming run down the right.

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As Wolves made Leicester drop deeper, Rodgers put on his own version of Traoré, namely Harvey Barnes, who hoped to exploit the space Wolves now had to leave behind their defence.

Leicester still had to cope with Traoré, whose piercing runs and crosses began to spread panic. He was involved in the move in the 77th minute that led to Neves arrowing a shot towards the top corner from the edge of the box. Schmeichel flung himself to his left to swat it away with one outstretched hand.

Rodgers then replaced Praet with Wes Morgan, another defender, so that Leicester could hold on. Barnes nearly made the margin of victory bigger after fine service by Justin but Kilman got a crucial touch to deflect the forward’s shot over the bar.

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