Birmingham City 2-3 Leicester City: Two-goal Mavididi shines as Foxes edge past Rooney’s Blues

Two sides in vastly contrasting forms met at St. Andrews in the EFL Championship’s Monday night kickoff. Wayne Rooney finally picked up his first away win as Birmingham City head coach last time out with a narrow victory at Cardiff, but in order to get another three points here, his side would have to pull off one of the shocks of the season against league leaders Leicester City, who edged past Millwall that same night.

BIR: Ruddy; Aiwu, Roberts, Sanderson, Buchanan; Sunjic, James, Bielik; Dembele, Bacuna, Stansfield

LEI: Hermansen; Pereira, Faes, Vestergaard, Justin; Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Winks; Fatawu, Mavididi, Daka

Looking to build on their win in the Welsh capital last time out, Birmingham started brightly against their visitors, with Jordan James going close early on, but Mads Hermansen collected the midfielder’s tame effort comfortably. Siriki Dembele then saw a close-range effort from a free kick kept out by the Leicester goalkeeper. Krystian Bielik also saw his headed tipped over by Hermansen.

But when Birmingham failed to take their chances, Enzo Maresca’s side launched a clinical counter attack. Abdul Fatawu got forward after receiving the ball from a clearance which saw James Justin smack the ball off his own post, and the winger got away from Marc Roberts. Fatawu then laid the ball off to Stephy Mavididi, who lobbed the ball expertly over John Ruddy to put the league leaders in front.

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However, that opener for Leicester never dented Birmingham’s resilience as they found an equaliser with five minutes gone. Ivan Sunjic received the ball in the central area of the Leicester half before slotting the ball through to Jordan James, who fired into the bottom corner past a diving Mads Hermansen to level the score.

The frantic scoring spree continued just inside the 21st minute, as Leicester restored their lead. Abdul Fatawu was involved again, as he got forward on the counter attack. The winger then slotted the ball through to an on-running Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who chipped the ball sublimely over John Ruddy in the Birmingham goal. 

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The Foxes began to take control of the game following that goal, and they almost added a third when Stephy Mavididi received the ball from Patson Daka. The Englishman then cut inside and looked to bend his shot into the far corner, but the effort instead drifted just wide.

The second half was only five minutes old when Stephy Mavididi added to his personal tally for the evening. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall won the ball in the centre circle and played the ball out wide to the winger signed from Montpellier in the summer. Mavididi then cut inside and fired towards the far corner, albeit via a deflection off Emanuel Aiwu. 

Patson Daka had a chance to add a fourth for Enzo Maresca’s visitors, but his shot from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s cutback was dragged wide by the Zambia international.

With just over fifteen minutes to go, Wayne Rooney’s side pulled a goal back to set up what they hoped would be a grandstand finish. Birmingham substitute Koji Miyoshi raced down the right hand side and played the ball in towards Jordan James, whose fierce shot deflected off James Justin into the back of the net to make matters less comfortable for the Foxes.

However, the home side couldn’t find what proved to be an elusive equaliser, as Leicester City escaped St. Andrews with all three points. 

Both sides are next in action this Saturday, with Leicester City hosting rock-bottom Rotherham United, and Birmingham City making the trip down south to take on Plymouth Argyle – both kick off at 3pm.