LEICESTER: Nathan Dyer scored a debut winner as Leicester City produced a remarkable comeback to beat Aston Villa 3-2 yesterday and climb to second place in the Premier League. The Foxes struck three times in the final 18 minutes to clinch a stirring victory from 2-0 down, with Dyer bravely heading in the decisive goal in the 89th minute. England striker Jamie Vardy had equalised eight minutes from full-time with his third goal of the season as Claudio Ranieri’s side maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign in thrilling fashion. Jack Grealish scored a stunning first Aston Villa goal to give the visitors a deserved lead on 39 minutes and intensify the spotlight on the battle between England and Ireland for his international allegiances. Then Carles Gil scored another fine goal to double their lead on 63 minutes before Ritchie De Laet’s header triggered the unlikely turnaround.
Villa made a nervous start and Leicester went close as early as the fourth minute when Micah Richards gifted possession to Danny Drinkwater and the midfielder sent a dipping shot just over. The visitors then forced two corners and, when the second one was half-cleared, Ashley Westwood dragged a shot wide. They had a glorious chance moments later when Gabriel Agbonlahor sprinted onto a first-time pass by Grealish and crossed to the far post, but Scott Sinclair forced his shot wide when he should have hit the target.
The end-to-end start continued when Marc Albrighton won a left-wing free-kick against his former club and picked himself up to send a dangerous set-piece to the far post. Foxes captain Wes Morgan rose highest in a crowded goalmouth but headed over the crossbar. Then Agbonlahor leapt at the far post to meet a cross by left-back Jordan Amavi, but his tame header looped through to goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Villa should have opened the scoring when Gil weaved past two defenders during a diagonal run from the right flank before picking out Grealish with a perfect pass, but the young midfielder fired weakly at Schmeichel. After a quieter spell, Villa took the lead with six minutes remaining before half-time thanks to a peach of a finish from Grealish. Westwood’s corner bounced around the Leicester goalmouth before Albrighton’s half-clearance found Grealish, who bent a shot past Schmeichel from 20 yards. The home side began the second half on the front foot and went close when Riyad Mahrez skipped through the Villa defence and hit a shot that deflected behind for a corner off Joleon Lescott, who was making his debut in claret and blue. But it was Villa who doubled their lead eight minutes into the second period with another fine strike.
Agbonlahor tore down the left and his pull-back was met by Gil, who unleashed a curling shot from the edge of the area that flew into the top-left corner past a helpless Schmeichel. The two-goal lead lasted just nine minutes, however, before Leicester gave themselves fresh hope from a Mahrez corner. De Laet met it with a near-post flick that Westwood could not prevent from crossing the line and referee Mike Dean awarded the goal with the aid of goal-line technology.
That inspired Leicester to go in search of an equaliser, which arrived through Vardy in the 82nd minute. Mahrez created the chance with a weaving run before finding Drinkwater, whose cross was turned home by Vardy. And with a minute remaining Dyer, who is on loan from Swansea City, rose bravely to meet a Mahrez cross and head home the winner despite being clattered by Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan. — AFP