Patrick Bamford had a role in all three goals as Leeds United fought back to end Leicester City’s seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League with a deserved victory at King Power Stadium.
Harvey Barnes had opened the scoring for Leicester after a wonderful run and quick exchange with James Maddison, but the Foxes’ lead lasted just 127 seconds.
Bamford found Stuart Dallas with a well-timed pass and the midfielder picked out the far corner with a low, right-footed strike.
The forward then fired into the top corner to put Leeds in front with his first goal in five league games, before unselfishly setting up Jack Harrison.
Ayoze Perez thought he had restored the Foxes’ lead in a frantic opening 20 minutes but was flagged offside, while Leeds substitute Mateusz Klich also had a goal ruled out 10 minutes later.
Kasper Schmeichel made a smart save to tip Bamford’s header on to the crossbar and Klich was in an offside position when he hacked in the rebound from close range.
Bamford had to wait until the 70th minute for his goal and then had the awareness to tee up Harrison for a tap-in as Leeds broke for a third late on.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side remain 12th after their victory, while third-placed Leicester missed the chance to go second and could be overtaken by Liverpool later.
Bamford inspires Leeds victory
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers revealed after his side beat Leeds 4-1 in November that he was delighted to not get dragged into the sort of “basketball match” Bielsa’s outfit thrive on.
Sunday’s enthralling encounter was exactly that, however, as Leeds responded to going a goal down by levelling two minutes later through Dallas’ well-taken effort.
They may even have been ahead at the break had it not been for two fine Schmeichel saves.
Leeds, who beat Newcastle last time out to end a run of three defeats in all competitions, continued to produce their counter-attacking best despite more Leicester pressure in the second half.
After setting up the first, Bamford got the goal his performance deserved with 20 minutes remaining when he fired into the top corner with his left foot following Raphinha’s pass.
With Leicester trying to force an equaliser, Leeds pounced for a third on the break as Bamford ran clear, drew Schmeichel and squared for Harrison to roll into an empty net.
“What I value most is for 3-1 he passed to Jack Harrison when a goalscorer would normally go for goal,” said Bielsa. “He was very generous and thought more of the team. He preferred the team got a third than he got a second.”
The 27-year-old has been directly involved in 15 goals in his 20 Premier League appearances for Leeds this season, with England boss Gareth Southgate present to witness this 11th and perhaps most spectacular strike in the competition this season.
Foxes struggling without Vardy?
Leicester would have moved two points behind leaders Manchester City with a win but dropped points for the second successive game, after a draw at Everton in midweek.
With Jamie Vardy absent following a hernia operation, the Foxes’ most dangerous attacking outlets have been Barnes and Maddison, and it was the two England hopefuls who combined for Leicester’s opener.
Barnes collected the ball in the Leeds half and accelerated towards the penalty box, exchanging a one-two with Maddison before sliding an effort beyond Illan Meslier.
Maddison’s assist was the playmaker’s 10th goal involvement in his past 11 games in all competitions, while Barnes now has seven league goals this season – one more than he managed in 2019-20.
But Vardy has scored 11 goals in the league this season, with back-up forwards Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho contributing just one between them, and the Foxes have now failed to win either of their league games since his surgery.
It means Rodgers has had to alter his approach and he brought Caglar Soyuncu on at half-time as the hosts switched to a back three in an effort to regain control against Leeds.
It almost worked immediately as wing-backs Ricardo Pereira and James Justin combined, but Justin’s effort was blocked.
A stretching Jonny Evans poked wide at the far post with Leicester looking to level late on, but the hosts were caught out as Leeds flew forward to kill the game with six minutes left.
“Make no mistake, we have won games without Jamie but the physicality of him and Wilf (Ndidi) benefits the team immensely,” said Rodgers. “We just weren’t good enough to get the result today.”
‘We knew how to survive the difficult moments’
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa speaking to Match of the Day: “We knew how to survive in the difficult moments and we tried to avoid them accumulating passes because it can be very difficult to take it off them.
“We managed the offensive actions we wanted to create.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers: “We made a good start, a fantastic goal from Harvey Barnes, who was a fantastic threat for us. We didn’t close the space quickly enough and their goal is too easy from our perspective. We still had opportunities but didn’t manage to score. Their last goal kills the game.
“I felt if we had a back three in place it would allow us to attack the game and we started the second half well. Of course, when they score the goal it made it difficult for us.”
Foxes let lead slip for first time – the stats
- Leicester have dropped points from a winning position for the first time this season, the final Premier League side to do so. They had won all 12 of their previous league matches this season when leading.
- Leeds United have won nine of their 20 league matches this season – the last newly promoted side with more victories after their opening 20 Premier League games was Wigan Athletic in 2005-06 (11).
- Leeds beat Leicester for the first time in six attempts (D2 L3) since defeating them 1-0 at Elland Road in the Championship in 2012-13, having lost this fixture three games running before today.
- Leicester conceded 3+ goals at home to a newly promoted side in a Premier League match for the first time since losing 5-0 to Bolton in August 2001.
- Only Tony Yeboah (17) had a hand in more goals in their first 20 Premier League games for Leeds than Patrick Bamford’s 15 this season.
- Bamford has scored eight goals away from home in the Premier League this season – only Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has more (nine goals).
- Harvey Barnes scored his seventh league goal of the season in his 20th appearance – one more goal than he managed in 36 Premier League matches in 2019-20.
Leicester visit Fulham on Wednesday (18:00 GMT), while Leeds host Everton on the same day (19:30).
- 27CastagneSubstituted forRicardo Pereiraat 37′minutes
- 3FofanaSubstituted forÜnderat 80′minutes
- 11AlbrightonSubstituted forSöyüncüat 45′minutes
- 21Ricardo Pereira
- 2AylingBooked at 38mins
- 18RaphinhaSubstituted forHélder Costaat 80′minutes
- 20RodrigoSubstituted forKlichat 21′minutesBooked at 74mins
- 15DallasBooked at 62mins
- 17Hélder Costa
Match ends, Leicester City 1, Leeds United 3.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 1, Leeds United 3.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Stuart Dallas.
Foul by Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City).
Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Ayoze Pérez (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nampalys Mendy.
Attempt missed. Cengiz Ünder (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Ayoze Pérez.
Foul by Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City).
Jack Harrison (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Çaglar Söyüncü (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Patrick Bamford (Leeds United).
Offside, Leicester City. Youri Tielemans tries a through ball, but Cengiz Ünder is caught offside.
Goal! Leicester City 1, Leeds United 3. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Patrick Bamford following a fast break.
James Justin (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Hélder Costa (Leeds United).
Foul by Youri Tielemans (Leicester City).
Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Liam Cooper (Leeds United) with an attempt from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Kalvin Phillips with a cross.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Ricardo Pereira.
Substitution, Leicester City. Cengiz Ünder replaces Wesley Fofana.