Sayyadmanesh sees Zorya Luhansk beat Leicester City

(Stanislav Vedmid/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Leicester City still have work to do if they are to finish top of Europa League Group G after Brendan Rodgers' side went down 1-0 to Zorya Luhansk.

With progress already secured, Rodgers rested Jamie Vardy, Kasper Schmeichel, Jonny Evans and Youri Tielemans on Thursday, using the trip to Ukraine to hand minutes to returning trio Wilfred Ndidi, Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu. 

The latter went off injured after just 17 minutes and, after a largely sluggish display, Leicester fell behind to Allahyar Sayyadmanesh's 84th-minute strike. 

Vladlen Yurchenko had gone the closest for the hosts prior to the late goal, the home captain hitting the crossbar, while Nikola Vasilj made a fine double save before Sayyadmanesh's winner, meaning Leicester will now need to beat AEK Athens next week to guarantee first place. 

An injury to Soyuncu compounded Leicester's slow start, though Cengiz Under should have put the Foxes ahead just after the half-hour, only to drill wide when one-on-one with Vasilj. 

Leicester would have been made to pay if not for Danny Ward, who made a strong save from Andrejs Ciganiks' blistering strike. 

The crossbar came to Leicester's rescue early in the second half, Yurchenko's header clipping the top of the woodwork. 

Under turned provider with a superb free-kick in the 75th minute, yet Wesley Fofana – who was unmarked in the centre of the penalty area – directed his header well wide. 

Kelechi Iheanacho was involved in all of Leicester's goals in their 3-0 win in the reverse fixture, and his low shot caused trouble for Vasilj, who recovered to keep out James Maddison's follow up. 

Zorya made it count, substitute Sayyadmanesh sliding in at the back post just three minutes after coming on, with Vasilj making an excellent stop to deny Under and claim the points, though the hosts nevertheless cannot progress in the competition.


What does it mean? No luck for Zorya, Leicester must match Braga 

With Braga winning in Athens, Zorya's triumph is not enough to keep them in contention for a place in the knockout stages. 

Leicester – who have now lost three of their last four games – are at the summit courtesy of their better head-to-head record against Braga, and the Foxes now need to match or better the Portuguese side's result next week in order to finish top, which would help them avoid one of the teams dropping out of the Champions League. 

Super sub Sayyadmanesh strikes 

Iran youngster Sayyadmanesh had only just entered proceedings when he got the chance to snatch a famous, if ultimately fruitless, win for Zorya. 

After laying the ball wide, the 19-year-old got the better of Fofana and lunged in to prod a finish high into the net. During his 13 minutes on the pitch, Sayyadmanesh had two attempts from seven touches. 

More injury woe for Soyuncu 

Having been out since early October with a groin injury, Soyuncu's return was cut short quickly, as he pulled up with an apparent hip problem before signalling straight away to be taken off. 

Fofana, his replacement, made four clearances – behind only James Justin and Dmitriy Ivanisenya – though was at fault for Zorya's winner, allowing Sayyadmanesh to get free at the back post. 

Key Opta facts

- Zorya enjoyed their first victory against English opposition (W1 D0 L3), courtesy of their maiden goal against an English side.
- Leicester have registered just two clean sheets in their last 14 away games in all competitions.
- Zorya celebrated consecutive victories in Europe for the first time since August 2019.
- Leicester are without a win in four games in all competitions (D1 L3) after winning each of their six before that.
- It took the visitors until the 78th minute to manage a shot on target, via an effort from Kelechi Iheanacho.

What's next? 

Leicester are at Bramall Lane on Sunday to play struggling Sheffield United in the Premier League, before rounding out their Europa League group campaign on the same day Zorya face Braga. 

Source Omnisport