Football: Champions Leicester stunned by Hull in Premier League opener

Hull City's Robert Snodgrass celebrating after scoring his side's second goal against Leicester City.
Hull City's Robert Snodgrass celebrating after scoring his side's second goal against Leicester City.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Leicester City became the first reigning Premier League champions to begin their title defence with a defeat when they were beaten 2-1 at promoted Hull City, who shrugged off an injury crisis to cause an upset on the opening day of the new season on Saturday (Aug 13).

Robert Snodgrass thumped home a left-footed winner in the 57th minute after Leicester, who lost only three games last season, failed to clear their lines.

Riyad Mahrez’s second-half penalty for Leicester had earlier cancelled out Adama Diomande’s acrobatic overhead kick.

“They played better,” Leicester coach Claudio Ranieri told Sky Sports. “We tried to do our best, our effort was amazing but it was individual, not as a team.”

Hull, who were promoted through the second-tier playoffs last season, came into the new campaign among the favourites for relegation and without a permanent manager after Steve Bruce quit last month.

They took the lead, however, against the run of play in the first minute of first-half stoppage time when Diomande leapt in tandem with Abel Hernandez to meet Kasper Schmeichel’s punched clearance from a Curtis Davies header.

“We tried to win but sometimes it’s not possible,” Ranieri added. “We made some mistakes and have to think about where we made them.”

Mahrez scored from the penalty spot two minutes into the second half after Tom Huddlestone had clipped Demarai Gray on the edge of the area, before Snodgrass slammed home the winner, providing some respite for Hull, who had only 13 fit senior players available.

“Leicester knew the togetherness, the mentality and the character we showed (last season),” said Snodgrass, “and I think that’s what got us through in the end.”

Hull’s interim coach Mike Phelan said: “It was great to see everyone pulled together and we got a result that surprised a few people.”