Leicester City 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1 match report: Anthony Knockaert puts Leicester on brink of Premier League return


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The Independent Football

Leicester City can begin to plan their promotion party after goals from Riyad Mahrez and Anthony Knockaert left the Championship leaders needing only one more win from their final six matches, although their place in the Premier League could be confirmed this weekend should other results go their way.

If Queen’s Park Rangers lose at Bournemouth and Derby fail to win at Middlesbrough in this afternoon’s matches, Leicester’s tally of 89 points after an unbeaten run of 21 matches will put them too far in front of third place to be caught.

Manager Nigel Pearson may have insisted that his players “stay in the moment” and maintain their game-at-a-time focus but there was a festive atmosphere about the King Power Stadium even before kick-off.  Needless to say, after Leicester swept into the lead inside 10 minutes, the place was jumping.

It was a nicely crafted goal from a side showing no sign of nervousness as the finish line approaches, the ball worked at pace from the left by Knockaert to centre -forward Chris Wood, who in turn slipped it nicely into the path of Mahrez, the French-Algerian winger, who moved the ball on to his left foot as he cut inside his marker before curling a low shot beyond Chris Kirkland and in off the far post.

But Sheffield Wednesday, one of only five sides to have beaten Leicester in the Championship this season, had not come to watch and applaud and by the 37th minute they were level when Michail Antonio cut in from the left flank, first feigned to shoot and then beating Kasper Schmeichel with a diagonal effort into the far corner.

Injuries to both their starting centre-backs did not help Wednesday, however, and they had scarcely had time to adjust to the loss of Glenn Loovens after 57 minutes when Leicester regained their lead, following a foul on Mahrez by Kieran Lee.

The free-kick, just outside the box and slightly to the right, was perfect for the left-foot of Knockaert, who curled a lovely finish into the top left-hand corner, well out of the reach of Kirkland.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Wasilewski, Morgan, Schlupp; Mahrez (Hammond, 79), James, Drinkwater, Knockaert (Dyer, 89); Wood (Taylor-Fletcher, 59), Nugent. Substitutes not used: King, Moore, Logan (gk), Phillips.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1): Kirkland; Buxton, Onyewu (Llera, h-t), Loovens (Coke, 57), Mattock; Palmer, Lee; Lavery (Nuhiu, 71), Maguire, Antonio; Best. Substitutes not used: Johnson, Helan, Martinez (gk), Afobe.

Referee: G Scott (Oxfordshire)