Leicester go top of the league on Ranieri debut
Leicester went top of the Premier League on Saturday as their opening day 4-2 defeat of Sunderland lifted them clear of the pack on goal difference at King Power Stadium.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa but Leicester’s four-goal tally lifts them top-of-the-table ahead of the final match of the day where champions Chelsea host Swansea at Stamford Bridge.
James Vardy, who made his England debut during the 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland in May, opened the scoring for the hosts with a deft header from Marc Albrighton’s cross after just 11 minutes.
The Foxes then extended their advantage with the first of two goals from French-born Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez.
The 24-year-old, who signed from French club Le Havre in 2014, headed home the second goal for new manager Claudio Ranieri after more good work from Albrighton to hand the home side a 2-0 lead after just 18 minutes.
Dutchman Dick Advocaat, the Sunderland manager who saved the team from relegation last season, then looked on in horror as his team fell further behind following a soft penalty.
Lee Cattermole was the culprit for the Black Cats as he blatantly tripped Mahrez on 25 minutes and the Algerian cooly dusted himself down before slotting home the penalty past Sunderland’s Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon.
Former England international Jermaine Defoe gave Sunderland hope with his strike to pull it back to 3-1 but the excellent Albrighton grabbed the goal his superb performance deserved on 66 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.
Scotland’s Steven Fletcher grabbed a late consolation goal for Sunderland with 19 minutes left but it was in vain.
Italian Ranieri, who was a surprise choice to take over at Leicester following a career that included spells at Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan and Monaco, could not have hoped for a better start by his side, who dominated for long spells and never looked in danger of losing the match.
For Advocaat, it was the worst possible start to his first full season in charge after overturning his original decision to retire at the end of last season in order to stay on as manager at the Stadium of Light.