Leicester City 1-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa battled hard to frustrate Leicester as the pair drew 1-1 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.
Both teams rang the changes after chopping and changing for their FA Cup ties over the weekend but neutrals got their wish, with respective playmakers James Maddison and Jack Grealish in from the start.
Jamie Vardy was also back for the Foxes but struggled to get involved as the teams cancelled each other out.
There was a shock though when Villa took the lead on 29 minutes. Grealish found space in the Leicester half, driving towards the book and after Anwar El-Ghazi had burst down the line, Frederic Guilbert charged in front of Ben Chilwell before bundling home.
That riled the Foxes and the game got a touch feisty heading into the break as both El-Ghazi and Vardy were booked for late lunges.
Hamza Choudhury was brought on at half-time for the hosts but frustration was perhaps getting the better of Leicester as they struggled to find their usual rhythm.
Villa, for their part, stood firm in defence, Tyrone Mings leading the way as they battered away set-pieces.
When they did attack on the ground, Leicester were met by goalkeeper Orjan Nyland who following Ricardo Pereira’s pass to Maddison, saved well at his near post from the England man’s low effort.
Nyland again thwarted Maddison soon after but the pressure inevitably took its toll. However, it was Villa were the architects of their own downfall.
7 – Kelechi Iheanacho has been directly involved in seven goals in his five competitive appearances against Aston Villa (five goals, two assists) – more than any other opponent in his professional club career. Protagonist. pic.twitter.com/WIFLkYEV1z
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 8, 2020
Ezri Konsa played a free-kick to Douglas Luiz but the Brazilian was immediately seized upon by Choudhury and after Vardy found substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, the Nigerian slammed into the roof of the net.
The pressure was now on, Vardy hitting the side-netting as Villa continued to retreat.
Nyland, Mings and co stood strong though, and the pair will kick off at 1-1 when they meet in the second leg at Villa Park on January 28.