Saturday, 13 August 2016

Hull City stun champions Leicester City in Premier League opener

The Premier League has started with a shock result as Hull City beat the defending champions Leicester City 2-1 at the KCOM Stadium this afternoon.


The newly-promoted hosts began the campaign as favourites for relegation, but goals from Adama Diomande and Robert Snodgrass either side of a Riyad Mahrez penalty gave them a perfect start to the season as Claudio Ranieri's side slumped to just their fifth defeat in their last 48 Premier League outings.

The Tigers had endured a tumultuous summer following their playoff victory over Sheffield Wednesday, losing manager Steve Bruce just three weeks before the beginning of the new season and failing to bring in a single player in the transfer market so far - leaving caretaker boss Mike Phelan with only 13 fit senior players to choose from.

Fans protested against the ownership of the club as a result, but despite such a disrupted preparation they managed to make a winning start in their first match back in the top flight.

Leicester's Demarai Gray had the opening shot of the season when his deflected effort looped onto the roof of the net, but it was the hosts who were the first to really threaten when Curtis Davies got on the end of a Snodgrass corner before glancing his header narrowly wide of the far post.


The champions, who were looking to regain their place at the top of the table having spent 147 days there last season, finally created their first clear chance in the 19th minute when club-record signing Ahmed Musa, making his full debut, pulled the ball back for Jamie Vardy, only for the FWA Player of the Year to completely miss his shot. The ball ran through to Mahrez, but the winger sliced his effort wide of the near post.

Danny Drinkwater was the next to come close for the visitors when he curled an effort narrowly wide of the far post having been set up by Mahrez.

The bulk of the first-half action arrived in the final five minutes, though, as first Hull somehow survived a trio of Leicester chances in quick succession, with Christian Fuchs being denied by Eldin Jakupovic before Jake Livermore launched himself in the way of Vardy's rebound to deny a certain goal. The ball then fell to Mahrez, but he fired wide having danced into a shooting position.

Snodgrass curled an effort narrowly over moments later, but Leicester were soon back up the other end and Vardy once again failed to make the most of a good chance having been picked out unselfishly by Musa.

It was the home side who broke the deadlock right on the stroke of half time, though, and again the danger came from a set piece as Davies won another header to flick the ball towards the far corner. Kasper Schmeichel clawed it away with a fine save, but a combination of Abel Hernandez and Diomande acrobatically turned the rebound home, with the latter seemingly getting the final touch.

It was the last action of the first half, but Leicester responded perfectly when Tom Huddlestone's foul on Gray gifted the Foxes a penalty just 14 seconds after the restart.

Replays showed that the contact took place outside the area, but referee Mike Dean did not hesitate to point to the spot and Mahrez stepped up to slam the penalty home and open his account for the season.

Having upset the odds in such spectacular fashion last season, Leicester were themselves stunned again shortly before the hour mark when Hull regained the lead through Snodgrass, who buried his finish into the bottom corner after the visitors had failed to adequately clear their lines.

The reigning Premier League champions had never before lost the opening match of their defence the following season, but Leicester showed few signs of maintaining that tradition as Jakupovic was only called into comfortable saves to deny Mahrez and Shinji Okazaki.

Indeed, it was Hull who came closest to the game's fourth goal when Snodgrass saw a free kick palmed away by Schmeichel, and the Tigers went on to see out the victory and become the first newly-promoted side to win their Premier League opener since 2012.

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