Jamie Vardy red card sours Leicester’s celebrations a Claude Puel breathes a sigh of relief to silence his critics

Leicester 2-0 Wolves: James Maddison opens his account for the Foxes after Matt Doherty’s own-goal but Vardy’s red card for a bad challenge leaves Puel without his star striker

Steve Madeley
King Power Stadium
Saturday 18 August 2018 16:49
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Jamie Vardy is shown a straight red card in Leicester's win over Wolves
Jamie Vardy is shown a straight red card in Leicester's win over Wolves

Leicester City handed Wolves a lesson in the ruthless realities of the Premier League despite having Jamie Vardy sent off controversially.

The England striker, making his first start of the season after World Cup duty, was shown a straight red card on 66 minutes for a hefty challenge on Matt Doherty.

By then, however, his side had already weathered an early onslaught from Wolves and punished the newly-promoted side for costly missed opportunities.

It was a clash between two talented sides; one streetwise and battle-hardened in the top flight and the other still finding its feet.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men twice struck the Leicester woodwork, missed a glaring chance via Doherty and saw Ruben Neves denied well by Kasper Schmeichel.

But they were made to pay with a Doherty own-goal and a long-range effort on his home debut by £22m summer signing James Maddison.

Marc Albrighton celebrates after putting Leicester in front

It was a timely win for Leicester manager Claude Puel to silence mutterings about his future, but barring a successful appeal he will now face the next three games without his talismanic striker.

Vardy was punished for a challenge that won the ball but left Doherty in a heap and was a rare example of poor decision-making on a day when Leicester’s game management represented a crash course for Santos’ Wolves.

After a bright opening from Leicester, it was Wolves who had two glaring chances to open the scoring inside the first four minutes.

Both were created by powerful running from Raul Jimenez, whose lay-off found Joao Moutinho for a powerful shot that struck the crossbar.

When Jimenez recovered an apparent lost cause moments later, his cross found Matt Doherty and he forced Ben Chilwell to make an important block.

But Wolves were given a warning of Leicester’s potency moments later when summer signing Ricardo Pereira cut in from right-back and fed Demarai Gray in the penalty area.

Matt Doherty deflects the ball into his own net as Rui Patricio helplessly looks on

The Leicester forward was bearing down on goal when Wolves defender Ryan Bennett intervened with a vital challenge.

Wolves began to gain the upper hand, however, and only the Leicester woodwork denied them the lead on 22 minutes.

Diogo Jota challenged for a loose ball that broke to Jimenez, whose right-footed effort thudded against Kasper Schmeichel’s right-hand post, struck the goalkeeper on the rebound and ran out for a corner.

Yet it was Leicester who led on 29 minutes in bizarre fashion.

Wilfred Ndidi found Marc Albrighton, whose cross clipped the head of Conor Coady and was headed into his own net by Doherty as Gray waited to pounce.

It was 2-0 on the stroke of half-time as Ricardo Pereira’s powerful run from right-back cut through the heart of Wolves.

He found Maddison, whose shot from 20 yards took a slight deflection off Coady and beat Patricio.

Jamie Vardy was sent-off for a bad foul on Matt Doherty

In stoppage time, Helder Costa had a rare effort for Wolves but he blazed over from the edge of the penalty area.

Wolves introduced two substitutes at half-time and one of them, record signing Adama Traore, made an instant impression.

He powered down the left and crossed to the far post, where the ball dropped for Jimenez, only for Chilwell to block the Mexican’s shot.

The changes prompted a response from Leicester who, in another show of nous, introduced an extra defender in Daniel Amartey to nullify the threat of Wolves’ forwards.

However, on 66 minutes the plan was undermined when Vardy lost the ball and flew into a challenge on Doherty with what referee Mike Dean deemed was excessive force.

Jamie Vardy will now miss Leicester's next three matches

Despite winning the ball, Vardy was shown a straight red card for the ferocity of his tackle and Doherty limped off to be replaced by Morgan Gibbs-White.

Yet despite their numerical disadvantage, Leicester closed out victory clinically with a powerful shot against the post by Jonny Castro Otto as close as the visitors came to setting up a tense finale with goalkeeper Rui Patricio denying Chilwell a late third for the hosts.

Teams

Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi; Albrighton (Amartey 60), Maddison (Iheanacho 82), Gray (Silva 82); Vardy. Substitutes: Morgan, Ward, Fuchs, Ghezzal. Booked: Evans. Sent off: Vardy.

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty (Gibbs-White 69), Coutinho, Neves, Jonny; Costa (Traore HT), Jimenez, Jota (Bonatini HT). Substitutes: Ruddy, Saiss, Vinagre, Hause. Booked: Gibbs-White.

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 32,033

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