English Premiership

United outfoxed by Leicester

2014-09-21 16:56
Robin van Persie (AFP)

London - Leicester City came from 3-1 down to beat Manchester United 5-3 in a thrilling Premier League clash on Sunday, piling on the early season agony for Louis van Gaal.

It seemed big-spenders United were on course for their first competitive away victory under van Gaal after goals by Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera left them 3-1 up with just over 30 minutes remaining at the King Power Stadium.

But a controversial penalty, converted by David Nugent, reduced the Foxes' deficit to 3-2 after they had got on the scoresheet through Leonardo Ulloa.

Two minutes after Nugent's penalty, Esteban Cambiasso drew Leicester level at 3-3 before Jamie Vardy, given time and space, made it 4-3 in the 79th minute.

Four minutes later, Ulloa made the game safe for promoted Leicester when, after United's Tyler Blackett had been sent off for bringing down Vardy in the box, the striker scored his second goal and Leicester's fifth from the penalty spot.

"How is it possible to give this game away?," a disbelieving van Gaal told Sky Sports.

"We have given the game away. Leicester has proven already in four games that they have a strong character and that when they are 3-1 down, you can play all the game with more possession but you cannot do these kind of things."

He added: "In the world of football, these matches happen. I was a coach at Barcelona in my first year and we were 3-0 ahead, with 15 minutes to play and we lost 4-3.

"It can happen, it is the world of football but it is not good because we have the game in our pocket and gave it away. Not because of Leicester, we gave it away and I don't like that.

"You cannot say the defence was weak. You play like a team, Leicester showed that, we did not play like a team in the second half and that is not only defence. In a defensive situation the whole team is responsible, not just one defender."

Delighted Leicester boss Nigel Pearson said: "To back up the Stoke win against one of the big forces in English football is very satisfying.

"When you add to that coming from 3-1 down, it is a testament to the quality, belief and spirit amongst us."

United, fresh from their 4-0 thrashing of QPR at Old Trafford last weekend, were 2-0 ahead inside 16 minutes.

Van Persie opened the scoring in the 13th minute when the Dutch striker headed in an excellent cross from Radamel Falcao.

Di Maria then showed why United had paid a British record fee of 59.7 million ($98 million, 75 million euros) to Real Madrid with a sublime second goal, courtesy of a perfect chip over Kasper Schmeichel -- son of United goalkeeping great Peter.

But just two minutes later Leicester pulled a goal back through an Argentinian ace of their own when Ulloa powered in a near-post header following an excellent cross by Vardy.

Herrera made it 3-1 before Leicester were given a contentious lifeline in the 62nd minute.

Vardy barged Rafael outside the box but referee Mark Clattenburg let play continue only to point to the penalty spot when, with roles reversed, the Leicester man went down inside the area following a slight touch by the full-back.

"For the first penalty it is always the referee (who you talk about) but you don't have to do that as a player," said van Gaal.

"You know you are in the penalty area and you allow the referee to whistle if you make a challenge."

Leicester were all square minutes later when Cambiasso became the third Argentinian to score in the match, with a low shot from inside the box.

Then came Ulloa's penalty that set the seal on a memorable win for Leicester.

Elsewhere, West Bromwich Albion moved off the bottom of the table with a 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur secured by Scotland international James Morrison's 74th-minute header from a corner.

"I thought we played really well against a really good team," said Baggies boss Alan Irvine.

But disappointed Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino added: "I think we had a very bad day. We need to be more alive and play quick. We made a big mistake on the set-piece."

Premier League leaders Chelsea will go five points clear if they maintain their perfect start to the season with victory away to champions Manchester City later Sunday.

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Burnley v Stoke City, Turf Moor 21:45
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Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
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