Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jamie Vardy hit a hat-trick as Leicester exposed Manchester City’s defensive flaws with a stunning 5-2 win at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s side went ahead after just four minutes thanks to Riyad Mahrez’s thunderous strike.
But that was as good as it got for City as Vardy tore Guardiola’s creaky defence to pieces with his pace and superb movement.
Kyle Walker’s foul on Vardy led to a penalty that the striker converted himself before the break.
Vardy struck again with a fine finish in the second half and netted another spot-kick after being fouled by Eric Garcia.
James Maddison’s brilliant strike added Leicester’s fourth before Nathan Ake scored his first City goal.
Youri Tielemans’ penalty made it five, sealing Leicester’s third successive victory and leaving City bruised after their most embarrassing league defeat under Guardiola since a 4-0 loss at Everton in 2017.
For the first time ever, Guardiola saw one of his teams concede five goals in his 686th game as a manager with City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
It was the first time City had conceded five goals in a home league game since 2003 against Arsenal — a devastating setback after their win at Wolves in their Premier League opener last Monday.
City looked even worse at the back than last season despite the signing of Bournemouth centre-back Ake.
Amid reports City could be about to sign Benfica centre-half Ruben Dias, Guardiola could have been forgiven for rushing to seal the deal once the final whistle blew.
While it is too early to write off City’s title hopes, they will need to improve significantly if they are overhaul champions Liverpool.
With Gabriel Jesus joining Sergio Aguero on the sidelines due to injury, Guardiola was without an experienced central striker.
As he did in the Champions League win against Real Madrid last season, England midfielder Phil Foden filled the role up front as a false nine, but he struggled to make an impact.
– Rattled City –
City were ahead in the fourth minute when James Justin could only half clear Kevin De Bruyne’s corner and Mahrez smashed a superb strike into top corner from wide on the right-hand side of the Leicester area.
Fernandinho should have doubled City’s lead, but the Brazilian headed De Bruyne’s free-kick straight at Kasper Schmeichel.
But after dominating the first half, City were rocked in the 37th minute.
Harvey Barnes’ precise pass played Vardy in behind Walker and the City defender made a panicked tug on the Leicester striker that sent him tumbling.
Vardy picked himself up to drill the penalty high into the roof of Ederson’s net for his third successful spot-kick this season.
City were rattled by that setback and Guardiola sent on 17-year-old striker Liam Delap for his Premier League debut.
But it was Vardy who showcased his predatory instincts in the 54th minute.
Making a clever run to meet Timothy Castagne’s low cross at the near-post, Vardy flicked a sublime finish past Ederson with his trailing foot.
Garcia missed the Wolves game after having 16 stitches inserted into a wound he suffered in training and took to the pitch wearing a Petr Cech-style head guard.
Vardy ensured Garcia’s discomfort wasn’t limited to his head gear as his run forced the defender into a push that gave Leicester another penalty in the 58th minute.
Once again Vardy was ice cool from the spot as he completed just the third treble against a Guardiola team — with one of the others also scored by the Leicester star.
Maddison came off the bench to compound City’s misery with his 25-yard curler into the top corner in the 77th minute.
Ake headed City’s second in the 84th minute, but Benjamin Mendy fouled Maddison four minutes later and Tielemens made Leicester the first team in Premier League history to score three penalties in one game.
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