LEICESTER CITY 5, MANCHESTER UNITED 3
Falcao makes his first start for United with Juan Mata left out – creates the opening goal for Robin Van Persie and hits the crossbar; Leonardo Ullua reduces deficit; Jonny Evans limps off in the first half, later seen on crutches and wearing a protective boot; Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera put United into the lead, David Nugent and Esteban Cambiasso pull it back for Leicester City; Slip by Mata lets Jamie Vardy put Foxes into the lead; Tyler Blackett sent off for fouling Vardy; Ulloa penalty finished off United.
Leicester City will not be complaining about their part in an eight goal thriller in which they came back from 3-1 down to win 5-3 despite seeming to ride their luck early on, scoring off every single chance on goal, with some unusual refereeing decisions by Mark Clattenburg, while United never recovered from losing Jonny Evans in the first half to injury.
Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal made just one change from the side that thrashed QPR at Old Trafford last week. He left out Juan Mata in favour of a first start for striker Falcao at the King Power Stadium against Leicester City and the Reds continued their scoring run that started at Old Trafford against QPR.
With one match a week until Christmas and defensive injuries continuing to dictate team tactics, Van Gaal’s side continued with four at the back and despite the obvious attacking power up front, their defence continued to look fragile.
Angel Di Maria had already tested Leicester’s organisation when he outpaced his markers and tried to pick out Robin Van Persie with a pass but Kasper Schmeichel was quick to make the save.
The warning wasn’t heeded, though, and United took a quick lead after 13 minutes when Falcao ran up the left wing and providing a brilliantly weighted cross for Van Persie arriving at the back post. It was amazingly Falcao’s first assist in a league game for two years and Van Persie’s header took a wicked deflection off Liam Moore’s head which took it away from Kasper Schmeichel in the Foxes goal.
United extended their lead in the 16th minute when Di Maria exchanged passes with Wayne Rooney and dug out a stunning lobbed goal from under his feet, it was a sumptuous chip to completely bamboozle Schmeichel.
Leicester reduced the deficit barely two minutes later as they persisted with pacy counter attacks. The ball seemed to have run out of play behind the goal line before Jamie Vardy whipped it in from the right flank but there was no complaint about Leonardo Ulloa’s header. His run took him unimpeded between two statuesque United defenders.
Falcao and Daley Blind had chances blocked as United tried to restore their two-goal advantage.
Injury-hit United had to make an early change when Jonny Evans limped off after 29 minutes to be replaced by Chris Smalling who himself had only recently turned from a lay-off.
Four minutes after the restart Falcao had people out of their seats with his own version of Di Maria’s lobbed goal after he received a cross but his effort came back off the crossbar with Schmeichel beaten.
Schmeichel was finally beaten again after a cross by Rafael was beaten out by the Dane only to see Di Maria’s follow-up shot diverted past him by Ander Herrera in the 57th minute with a backheel.
Rafael was penalised for impeding Vardy as he raced into the area. It was a debatable decision but David Nugent took full advantage to thump Leicester’s second goal straight down the middle and past David De Gea in the 62nd minute.
United were stunned less than two minutes later when Esteban Cambiasso, making his first home start for the Foxes, levelled the scores after pouncing on the loose ball which had bounced off Tyler Blackett when he blocked an earlier shot. The veteran midfielder smashed home the priceless equaliser with a left-footed shot.
Di Maria was sacrificed for Juan Mata as United went in search of a winner but the Spanish substitute slipped and Vardy finished off a quality counter attack by Leicester in the 78th minute with United in disarray behind him.
The misery wasn’t over as Blackett was sent off in the 82nd minute when he tripped Vardy as he entered the penalty area chasing a long ball from defence with the young United defender in his wake. Ulloa sent his penalty into the lower right side of the goal which De Gea had no chance of reaching.