Football: Slimani slots in as Leicester down Burnley

Leicester City's Islam Slimani celebrates scoring their first goal.
Leicester City's Islam Slimani celebrates scoring their first goal.PHOTO: REUTERS

LEICESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) - Record signing Islam Slimani enjoyed a dream Premier League debut for Leicester City as the champions defeated Burnley 3-0 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday (Sept 17).

The £28 million (S$50 million) signing from Sporting Lisbon scored headers either side of half-time before Ben Mee's own goal completed a comprehensive win.

It set the seal on a fine week for Claudio Ranieri's Leicester after they won by the same scoreline on their Champions League debut at Belgian side Club Brugge on Wednesday.

Algeria international Slimani began the process of repaying his transfer fee with two examples of the kind of goal with which he made his name in Portugal.

There was an early chance for him to impress when he picked up possession on the edge of the area with a chance to test Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal.

But he chose to feed Marc Albrighton to his left and the winger's weak shot was straight at Heaton.

Burnley soon found their feet with some dangerous play down the left, George Boyd delivering an inviting cross to the back post from the left.

Close-season signing Ron-Robert Zieler started in goal for Leicester after Kasper Schmeichel was diagnosed with concussion.

The home side were generally on top in the early stages and they could have opened the scoring when Christian Fuchs delivered a teasing cross from the left onto the head of Jamie Vardy.

The striker sent a glancing header just wide of Heaton's goal.

After a cagey spell in which both teams struggled for cohesion, Riyad Mahrez almost gave Leicester a stylish lead.

England's reigning Player of the Year raced from halfway and rode two strong challenges from Burnley defenders before advancing into the penalty area and hitting a low shot that Heaton saved with his legs.

With half-time approaching, both teams had glorious chances to open the scoring.

The first fell to Burnley as Boyd's cross was headed back to the edge of the six-yard box by Scott Arfield, but Steven Defour headed straight at Zieler.

Then, at the other end, Fuchs's superb cross found the head of Mahrez, who failed to find the required deftness with his touch and sent his effort wide of the near post.

There was a further chance for Slimani after a neat lay-off by Vardy, but his attempt lacked power and Heaton made an easy save.

Moments later, he just failed to make contact with an Albrighton cross.

But Slimani finally took his chance in first-half stoppage-time as he rose purposefully to outjump Burnley's defenders and power home a header from a Fuchs free-kick.

Just three minutes into the second period the striker added to his and the Foxes' joy with a second headed goal of the afternoon.

A right-wing cross by Mahrez clipped the feet of both defender Mee and Vardy before sitting up invitingly for Slimani to nod home.

Slimani was hoping for a hat-trick opportunity when Vardy delivered a cross from the left, but the ball flew over the Algerian's head.

Heaton then saw a Mahrez effort from 20 yards dip just over his crossbar before turning a powerful drive by Fuchs around the post.

But the third Leicester goal arrived with 12 minutes to go when Mahrez produced more trickery and crossed towards Vardy, only for Mee to divert the ball into his own net.

There was still time for Zieler to mark his first Premier League start with a fine save to keep out a deflected free-kick from Johann Berg Gudmundsson.