Newly promoted Championship side Sheffield United hosted Premier League’s Leicester City in the hopes of causing a huge upset in the second round of the League Cup.
United have already knocked out Walsall in the first round, beating them 3-2. But for their opponents Leicester this is their first game in the League Cup this year. Sheffield United have never won the League Cup, unlike their opponents Leicester who have won it twice. They won it first in 1997 beating Middlesbrough 2-1 and then again in 2000 beating Tranmere Rovers 1-0. Leicester were also runners up in 1999, losing 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.
As far as form goes heading into the clash, Sheffield United have won three and lost two of their last five games. Leicester, on the other hand, have only played two competitive matches this season. They lost 4-3 on the opening day of the Premier League season to Arsenal and then beat Brighton 2-0 on Saturday.
Leicester XI: Hamer, Amartey, Maguire, Fuchs, Chilwell, Musa, Ndidi, King, Gray, Ulloa, Slimani.
Leicester started with a somewhat weakened side. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were both on the bench. Also, natural left back Christian Fuchs started at centre back.
Sheffield United XI: Eastwood, Baldock, O’Connell, Lundstram, Wright, Freeman, Lavery, Lafferty, Evans, Brooks, Carruthers.
Sheffield United also started with a slightly weakened side. Top scorer Billy Sharp was on the bench and new signing Jamal Blackman was left on the bench.
The game got off to a lively start with United’s Lafferty picking up a yellow inside 3 minutes for a foul on Harry Maguire. The first real chance of the game fell to Musa in the 11th minute. Slimani played him through but his shot hit the side netting.
Slimani was involved again in the second chance of the game when he played Gray in who forced a good save from Eastwood.
United’s first chance of the game came in the 16th minute when Brooks headed down to Evans but Evans’ soft header was easy to deal with for Hamer.
Musa was the second player to go into the book in the 19th minute after fouling Brooks. Brooks was involved again minutes later as he cut inside and shot from the edge of the box causing Hamer to nearly spill the ball into his own net.
Slimani then burst through several United players before he was taken down while also fouling Freeman, meaning Slimani was the third player in the book by the 24th minute.
Slimani continued to drop deep and link up play. This time with Chilwell who shot from around 30 yards. But it went wide in the 33rd minute. Chilwell then took the ball past two United players before forcing a save from Eastwood on the 35th minute.
Slimani then had a free header from a corner in the 41st minute but he headed wide. The Algerian was once again in the picture in the 44th minute. When already on a yellow he caught a Sheffield United defender. United fans were desperate for him to be shown a second yellow. However, the referee let him off with a warning.
The final action of the first half was a United free kick. Lundstram floated in the free kick and it was easily cleared. The first half ended goalless with both sides not have any huge chances, However, United more than held their own against Premier League Leicester.
There were no changes to either side to kick off the second half.
The first chance of the second half fell to United in the 47th minute after Fuchs took one too many touches in the Leicester box. Lafferty gathered the ball but his shot was straight at the Leicester keeper.
Sheffield were the much brighter team to start the second half. However, Leicester’s Premier League quality shone through when Demarai Gray used his pace and skill to burst into the United box and slot past Eastwood giving the Foxes a 1-0 lead on 52 minutes.
United then attempted to fire back very quickly with Brooks having a shot on the edge of the box on 54 minutes. Once again though, it was straight at Hamer.
Sheffield made the first change of the game. Top scorer Billy Sharp came on in the 62nd minute for Ched Evans.
Moments after bring on Sharp, United were cut wide open. King slotted Slimani through and he took it round Eastwood and calmly finished it making it 2-0. Soon after Gray nearly doubled his goal tally curling a shot from the edge of the box. It was heading top corner but Eastwood tipped it over.
Unfortunately for Sheffield United, Gray was on form minutes later as he floated in a superb cross to Slimani who poked it home in the 66th minute making it 3-0 and giving Sheffield a mountain to climb.
United made their second change and third changes of the night in the 68th minute in an attempt to counter Leicester’s dominance. Basham and Coutts came on for Baldock and Wright.
Slimani then had the ball in the net again, on 73 minutes, after a pass from Ndidi who the assistant judged to be offside, he was not. Ndidi then came off after 76 minutes with Nampalys Mendy replacing him. Leicester made another substitution in the 80th minute with Harry Maguire coming off to a big applause from both fans and being replaced by Josh Knight.
Despite being 3-0 down United did not give up. Lavery pulled out a puzzling goal, he looked to be crossing the ball but it went on target instead. Hamer was not expecting it and it somehow ended up in the back of the net on 83 minutes.
Slimani could have had his hat-trick moments later. Mussa burst down the right and fed Slimani who was on the edge of the six-yard box, however, he failed to convert.
United continued to press and Lavery squared it to Sharp but some superb Leicester defending denied Sharp.
Mussa killed off the game completely in the 93rd minute. He used his pace and determination to work the ball into a shooting position before finally scoring Leicester’s 4th.
The game ended 4-1 with Leicester’s Premier League quality being the deciding factor. Sheffield did have some bright spells and look to have enough to do well in the Championship this season. However, tonight, Leicester were too good for them.