Leicester City 4-3 Fulham
Adam Redfern reporting for the King Power Stadium
Lloyd Dyer’s dramatic 90th minute winner saw a spirited Leicester City side defeat Premier League Fulham 4-3 on Tuesday night, to reach the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.
Hugo Rodallega opened the scoring for the visitors on 15 minutes before the Foxes battled back with goals from Wes Morgan and Chris Wood to give them a 2-1 half-time lead.
Arsenal loanee Ignasi Miquel increased Leicester’s lead on 59 minutes to 3-1, but Rodallega pegged one back for Fulham straight from the restart.
Just when Leicester thought they had claimed victory, Giorgos Karagounis scored an unstoppable free-kick to level things, just 6 minutes from time.
Then with extra time looking likely, Nugent expertly played in Dyer who fired the ball home to shock the visitors and fire the Foxes into the next round.
The win marks Leicester’s 7th straight home victory as they remain unbeaten at the King Power Stadium this campaign.
In the previous round Leicester City had to fight back from a goal down against Derby County to make it into this fourth round tie.
Facing Premier League Fulham it was never going to be an easy ride as both sides were looking to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.
However the Foxes had home form in their favour having won six on the bounce at the King Power Stadium.
Nigel Pearson made five changes to his Leicester starting XI for this fixture from Saturday’s 2-1 victory over AFC Bournemouth. The XI included a first start for midfielder Dean Hammond. Arsenal loanee Miquel also came in at the heart of the Foxes defence.
Meanwhile Fulham arrived in the East Midlands off the back of a 2-0 defeat away at Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday. The pressure was on Martin Jol and his side.
And it was the visitors who got off to the perfect start. Enjoying the majority of possession in the early exchanges they got their rewards when Riise found Rodallega arriving at the back post to comfortably fire the Cottagers into the lead on 18 minutes.
From then on Leicester dominated but carved out little chances as they struggled to break down a stern Fulham defence. The Foxes resulted in long distance efforts as they searched for an equaliser.
As half-time approached the elusive goal they were looking for finally came their way. Wes Morgan pouncing on a spilt ball from Maarten Stekelenburg to head the ball home, following Anthony Knockaert’s fiercely struck free kick.
Philippe Senderos gifted the Foxes their second on the stroke of half-time as his clearance cannoned of Paul Konchesky. The ball kindly fell to Wood, who fired the ball passed Stekelenburg to give Leicester a 2-1 lead at the interval.
Straight from the off, Leicester came out immediately looking to extend their lead. And they didn’t have to wait long as a Danny Drinkwater’s cross was met at the front post by Miquel who headed past the floundering Fulham goalkeeper to make it 3-1.
They say you are most vulnerable when you have just scored and that proved so as Leicester were caught napping to leave Rodallega with the simple task of heading passed Schmeichel from close range immediately from the restart.
As full-time approached, the Foxes looked comfortable, but a cynical foul on the edge of the area gifted the visitors a chance to draw things level. Karagounis accepted the invitation and arrowed an accurate free-kick passed Schmeichel to complete the comeback.
Leicester’s spirit encouraged them to press for a winner and that’s exactly what they got. Substitute David Nugent latched onto a ball down the right. Playing the ball across the face of goal, Dyer arrived just in time to slot the ball home and send the Foxes faithful into raptures with a chorus ‘Que Sera’.
Speaking after his side’s victory, Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson said: “It was a good game between two sides who were both trying to win it. I think I am probably a bit more relaxed than Martin Jol but it was a good night for us.
“We have a competitive squad who aspire to be in the Premier League and as do any number of Championship clubs, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it’s a cup game and cup games are cup games. You will come unstuck at some points and you will overachieve in others.
“I do feel that our players deserve an awful lot of credit against a Premier League side.
“I’m disappointed to concede 3 goals but our aim was to reach the next round and that is the bottom line.”
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Wasilewski; Konchesky (Dyer 45’); James; Morgan; Drinkwater; Miquel; Knockaert (Nugent 87’); Wood (Vardy 87’); Shlupp; Hammond. Unused subs: Logan; Moore; Taylor-Fletcher; King.
Fulham: Stekelenburg; Zverotic; Riise; Karagounis; Senderos; Hughes; Duff (Ruiz 56’); Boateng (Sidwell 80’); Rodallega (Bent 65’); Tarrabt; Kacaniklic. Unused subs: Stockdale; Dejagah; David; Amorebieta.
Attendance: 17, 932 (1, 144 away)
Next up for the Foxes: Watford (A)- Saturday 2nd November 2013
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