Keen to extend their unbeaten run at the start of the 2023/24 EFL Championship, Leicester City welcomed a struggling Cardiff City to the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
LEI: Hermansen; Doyle, Vestergaard, Faes, Pereira; Dewsbury-Hall, Winks, Ndidi; Mavididi, Iheanacho, Marçal-Madivadua
CAR: Alnwick; McGuinness, Goutas, Romeo; O’Dowda, Ralls, Wintle, Bowler; Collins, Ugbo, Ramsey
Iheanacho was the first player to fashion a chance at the King Power Stadium, taking a touch before attempting to curl a spectacular effort around Alnwick. The Nigerian was to be denied by the woodwork though, as the Foxes’ search for an opener continued.
Both sides were enjoying goalmouth action, with Ugbo placing his headed effort off-target following Ramsey’s cross. Cardiff’s chances would be limited though, and the Foxes faithful were struggling to understand how they hadn’t taken the lead as another Iheanacho effort was deflected wide of the post.
Leicester found their long-awaited breakthrough in the 36th minute though, with Marçal-Madivadua sending the home supporters into sheer euphoria with his stunning strike. Dewsbury-Hall’s corner wasn’t completely cleared by the Cardiff defence, allowing the Portuguese youngster to thump a half-volleyed effort past Alnwick.
But in first-half stoppage time, it was Ramsey that provided a fantastic equaliser. Returning to his childhood club, the Welshman had the desired impact with a thunderous strike from distance – leaving Hermansen with no choice but to watch as his effort clipped the crossbar and bounced over the line.
An end-to-end spell saw Ralls come close to pelting the visitors into the lead but for a super save from Hermansen, shortly before Alnwick did well to tip Doyle’s shot wide of the post. Méïté would benefit from the best chance of the game though, with Romeo dancing past the Leicester midfield before threading a ball through to the striker – but the summer signing sent his strike wide of the woodwork.
The visitors would pay the price for that disastrous miss in stoppage time, as Casadei blasted over the line following a pinball-esque encounter in the penalty area. Vardy was sent tumbling to the ground after contact with a Cardiff defender, but in the midst of the appeals, Casadei took it upon himself to turn home and provide a deserved winner on his debut for the club.
The Foxes will look to continue their unbeaten start to the season as they travel to Rotherham next Saturday, while Cardiff City welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the Welsh capital.