Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Foxes hold Bursaspor in feisty Austria friendly

Leicester City held an aggressive Bursaspor side to a goalless draw in their first pre-season friendly in Austria.

The first half ended with a scuffle on the edge of the Foxes' eighteen-yard box and that was typical of the manner in which Turkey's representatives in the Europa League went about this supposedly friendly fixture. It started, however, with the Green Crocodiles playing the better football, applying pressure to Leicester's back five which stood solid throughout. New signing Matt Mills led out his boyhood team on this occasion and worked well alongside a committed Sol Bamba.

Paul Konchesky's dogged determination to feed Paul Gallagher nearly paid-off on more than one occasion but, like Darius Vassell on the opposite wing, Gallagher was barely able to see a shot at goal, his only memorable effort clearing the crossbar as he lobbed the Bursaspor keeper.

The connection between Konchesky - a new signing - and Gallagher - an established senior player - will have pleased Sven Goran Eriksson as his new-look Foxes side seems to have gelled nicely, neatly demonstrated in this left-wing partnership that would, on this showing, beat any in the Championship.

Second half substitutions saw Martyn Waghorn introduced to make his mark, but his dead balls were played heavily and he was once again unable to demonstrate the form of two seasons ago when he was embraced by the Foxes' faithful.

Yuki Abe, however, was unfortunate to not grab a goal when his flicked-on header was tipped away by the Bursaspor keeper. His replacement with twenty minutes to go allowed Bursaspor more time in midfield and it was the Turkish side that came closest to scoring when, with twelve minutes remaining, a long shot from Giani Kiriţă leaving Kasper Schmeichel reeling and the Foxes' crossbar rattling.

And, despite the game fizzling-out in the dying minutes, this was a guelling run-out for a growing Leicester City team who seem able to cope with high quality opposition and easily managed an important clean sheet against the Turkish former champions, despite the opposition's rather aggressive desire.
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