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Sport Daka nets four as Foxes fight back at Spartak

22:01  20 october  2021
22:01  20 october  2021 Source:   skysports.com

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Patson Daka netted a nine-minute hat-trick on route to scoring all four of Leicester’s goals as the Foxes came from two goals down to boost their Europa League qualification hopes with a vital 4-2 win at Spartak Moscow.

Leicester travelled to the Russian capital joint-bottom of Group C after two matches and in desperate need of three points to keep their destiny of reaching the knockout phase in their hands but endured a nightmare first half.

Patson Daka celebrates scoring for Leicester vs Spartak Moscow © Getty Patson Daka celebrates scoring for Leicester vs Spartak Moscow

Spartak went two goals up thanks to Aleksandr Sobolev's early deflected strike (11) and Jordan Larsson's swept finish (44) but, with Leicester's European campaign on the ropes, Daka grabbed his first of the night with the final kick of the half.

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Daka added to his lifeline goal within three minutes of the restart to haul Leicester level and then completed his first hat-trick for the club on 54 minutes to seal the Foxes' remarkable turnaround.

Zambia international Daka looked to have put the game to bed with his fourth 11 minutes from time - a goal which saw him become Leicester's joint-top scorer in Europe - only for Sobolev's second of the night set up a tense final four minutes, but the Foxes held on for a priceless, memorable victory to move second the group.

How the teams lined up | Match statsEuropa League fixtures | Results | TablesEuropean football: 2021/22 datesDevastating Daka demolishes Spartak

Leicester made an encouraging start as the snow fell in Moscow, with Kelechi Iheanacho and Daka both spurning opportunities inside 10 minutes, and those misses came back to haunt the Foxes as Spartak took the lead against the run of play.

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Leicester looked to have recovered after a rapid Spartak break but, just when it seemed the danger was averted, Sobolev's speculative shot took a huge deflection off Boubakary Soumare as it sailed past the wrong-footed Kasper Schmeichel at his near post.

Leicester responded well to the 12th-minute setback, with Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu both turning headers wide of the target before James Maddison blazed a shot over from 18 yards.

The Foxes felt they should have been awarded a penalty just after the half-hour mark when Daka's shooting leg was clearly clipped by defender Samuel Gigot, but the referee and VAR were unmoved.

Leicester's lack of creativity and incision came back to haunt them a minute before the break when Victor Moses picked Soyuncu's pocket and squared for Larsson, the son of Henrik, to double Spartak's lead.

But, out of nowhere, Leicester finally clicked in the final third as Iheanacho's wonderful lofted through ball released strike partner Daka and he halved the deficit immediately as the Foxes grabbed a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.

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Daka wasted little time turning the game around after the restart and required just three minutes to draw Leicester level as he swept home Iheanacho's selfless square pass after the Nigerian has been released down the left channel.

And Daka's hat-trick goal soon followed as Youri Tielemans split the Spartak defence and the striker slid home under on-rushing goalkeeper Aleksandr Maksimenko to put Leicester in front in a game which had looked beyond them nine minutes prior.

Daka wasn't finished there, converting a near-carbon copy of his third goal, this time from Maddison's through ball, to put Leicester into an unassailable 4-2 lead before Sobolev's late second made the scoreline more respectable for a shell-shocked Spartak.

Opta statsThis was the first time Leicester have come from 2+ goals down to win a European match, while it was the first time in any competition since September 2015 (3-2 vs Aston Villa).This is the first time Spartak Moscow have conceded at least four goals in a home match in a major European competition (excluding qualifiers) since April 2011 (2-5 vs Porto).After a run of three consecutive away clean sheets in February, Leicester have kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 away games in all competitions, a 2-0 win at Millwall in the League Cup.Kelechi Iheanacho has been involved in 25 goals in his last 27 appearances for Leicester in all competitions (17 goals, 8 assists).What the manager said…

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: "I'm satisfied with the result, it's a great victory, and satisfied with the mentality and spirit from the team. I'm satisfied with the second-half performance, we were more aggressive without the ball, and I'm super satisfied with Patson scoring for goals.

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"To do it in an away game in Europe is so special. All his finishes were really calm and composed. That's his biggest strength, when he is through one-on-one he has great composure. It was a great victory for us, it was a massive game for us in terms of the group stage. It was decisive."

Man of the Match - Patson Daka

Patson Daka's hat-trick was the first scored by a Leicester player in European competition. It was also the first hat-trick scored by a Zambian player in major European competition (excl. qualifiers).

What's next?

Leicester travel to Brentford in the Premier League on Sunday at 2pm, while Spartak Moscow travel to Zenit in the Russian Premier League on Sunday at 5pm.

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