Leicester City reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1982 after a 3-1 win over Manchester United in Sunday’s quarter-final clash.
Two goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and one from Youri Tielemans were enough to give the Foxes only a second victory over the Red Devils in 26 meetings in all competitions.
United, who levelled in the first half through Mason Greenwood before Tielemans’ fine strike, looked well short of their best for much of a contest for which they made five changes from their Europa League win in Milan three days earlier.
Iheanacho headed in a third 12 minutes from time to make certain of victory as United lost an away match in domestic competition for the first time since January 19 last year.
Fred had twice lost possession in United’s half before his dreadful backpass to goalkeeper Dean Henderson gifted Iheanacho an easy finish after 24 minutes.
Despite their changes from the side that won in Milan, United played like a team struggling with fatigue in the first half, as Leicester pressed them into errors without managing to take full advantage.
It was therefore something of a surprise when the visitors levelled seven minutes before the break. Paul Pogba’s low cross from the left was dummied superbly by Donny van de Beek, giving Greenwood the chance to smash home his first goal in 16 appearances.
Leicester regained their lead in prompt fashion in the second half, though, Tielemans drilling a fine shot beyond the reach of Henderson after drifting easily away from Nemanja Matic and Fred.
Jamie Vardy should have made it 3-1, skipping beyond Harry Maguire only to drag a shot wide of the left-hand post with only Henderson to beat, prompting Solskjaer to make four changes to breathe life into United’s display.
It was one of those substitutes, Scott McTominay, who conceded a cheap free-kick near the box and then allowed Iheanacho to drift behind him to nod home Marc Albrighton’s delivery.
What does it mean? Leicester will have final in their sights
Leicester were drawn against Southampton in the semi-finals during half-time of this game, avoiding Manchester City and Chelsea, and this performance will give them real confidence of going all the way to the final.
United are left to rue another trophy opportunity passing them by, Solskjaer’s changes to the line-up and a general lack of precision in their play bringing their 14-game unbeaten run to an end.
The Europa League now represents their best chance of winning a first piece of silverware under Solskjaer – a competition Leicester exited at the last-32 stage.
Iheanacho on fire
As a former Manchester City youngster, Iheanacho will have enjoyed his part in dumping United out of the competition.
His two goals capped a superb display and mean he has now had a direct hand in 15 goals in his 15 starts in all competitions this season, eight of which have come in his most recent four appearances.
Fred was one of those to play the full match in Milan and he was mentally and physically off the pace against a hard-working Leicester.
Having passed to Iheanacho for the opener, he failed to get close enough to stop Tielemans scoring as the Foxes dictated the midfield battle.
Key Opta Stats:
– This was Leicester’s first victory in 14 attempts against Manchester United, since beating them 5-3 in a Premier League match in September 2014.
– Leicester have beaten both Manchester United and Manchester City in a single campaign for the first time since 1975-76.
– Brendan Rodgers took charge of his 100th match as Leicester manager, earning his 53rd win; his 53% win rate as Leicester boss is his best for any English side.
– Since the start of last season, Greenwood has scored 22 goals in all competitions, the most by a teenager for clubs in the top-five European leagues in this time.
– Iheanacho has scored 13 goals in 18 FA Cup games, the most of any player in the competition since making his debut in January 2016.
United are back in action at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on April 4. A day earlier, Leicester host Premier League leaders Manchester City.
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