Brendan Rodgers’s last visit to the Olympic Stadium was a chastening experience, yet this proved a far more memorable affair for the Leicester manager.
三级成人视频Two years ago, while in charge at Celtic, his team were knocked out in the embryonic stages of the Champions League by AEK Athens, resulting in a tidal wave of criticism as he departed the Greek capital.
三级成人视频Rodgers will recall this occasion far more fondly as Leicester extended their 100 per cent start on their return to European football, despite an alarming injury list which now includes defender Timothy Castagne.
三级成人视频Jamie Vardy became the club's oldest European goalscorer with a first-half penalty and Leicester will face Sporting Braga next Thursday with the opportunity to take a firm foothold in Group G.
Their second victory was even more impressive when you consider the players missing: Castagne, the summer signing from Atalanta, could miss up to three weeks with a hamstring injury, joining Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu and Wilfred Ndidi as the absentees. Jonny Evans, the defender, also missed this game with a back problem.
Yet Leicester’s strength in depth was evident here, with Vardy underlining his enduring quality with a goal in yet another competition and midfielder Hamza Choudhury providing the crucial winner.
三级成人视频Vardy said: “It’s tough [with the injuries] because we’ve not got the biggest squad but as you’ve seen in the league and Europe we’re picking up wins and playing well.
“We believe we can go far in this tournament so we just want to keep going, every single game we’ll put 100 per cent in. We can beat anyone on our day.
三级成人视频“We’ve kept that close togetherness and that shows from the way we’ve seen the game out here.”
三级成人视频This was Leicester’s first European excursion away since April 2017, when they were beaten 1-0 by Atletico Madrid in the last eight of the Champions League.
The memories of that magical journey are inspiring many of the players still in the squad, including Vardy, Kasper Schmeichel and Wes Morgan, while the new generation are also determined to seize their chance.
三级成人视频Leicester are hardly viewing Europe’s second competition as an unwelcome distraction and were ahead here after 18 minutes. Vardy was brought down in the area by goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas, after racing onto James Maddison’s pass, and put away the penalty to register his eighth goal of the season.
三级成人视频AEK Athens had embarrassed Wolfsburg earlier this month and did have chances, with midfielder Marko Livaja brilliantly denied by Schmeichel from close range.
But Leicester were always a threat going forward on a poor surface and extended their lead six minutes before half-time. Maddison’s corner created havoc and after the home defence failed to clear, Hamza Choudhury produced a clinical finish.
Game over, you would assume? Not so. AEK Athens clawed their way back into the game four minutes into the second half with a neat strike from substitute Muamer Tankovic.
三级成人视频The former Fulham forward almost equalised 60 seconds later, firing over the bar as Leicester’s defence displayed their first signs of nerves.
三级成人视频Cengiz Under, impressing on his first Leicester start, struck the post but the final 25 minutes were all about stubborn defending and concentration as the visitors repelled late pressure, with captain Wes Morgan outstanding.
三级成人视频At the final whistle, Leicester’s cheers of celebration echoed around the empty stadium.
Rodgers said: “I’m delighted with the result and it was a very professional performance.
三级成人视频“We’ve got two good wins but there’s still four games to go.
“We showed our spirit, togetherness and courage and still managed to show moments of quality.”