Mahrez extends Leicester’s perfect start in Champions League

Riyad Mahrez made it three wins out of three for Leicester on its Champions League debut, clinching a 1-0 victory for the Group G leaders over FC Copenhagen on Tuesday.

Leicester is in a strong position to reach the knockout phase, holding a five-point lead over Copenhagen and FC Porto halfway through the group stage.

Mahrez’s first-half goal ended Danish league leader Copenhagen’s 21-game unbeaten run in all competitions. But while Leicester is thriving in European football’s elite competition, Claudio Ranieri’s team is floundering in its English title defense.

Leicester has more points from three European games (nine) than from eight Premier League games (eight) this season.

Leicester’s domestic struggles have been epitomized by the goal drought being endured by Jamie Vardy, who was the team’s top scorer last season during the astonishing run to a first Premier League title.

Although Vardy failed to score for an eighth successive game on Tuesday, the striker was the architect of the only goal against the Danish visitors at the King Power Stadium. Five minutes before halftime, Vardy’s cross was headed by Islam Slimani to fellow Algerian Mahrez, who flicked the ball into the net from close range.

Leicester had a goal ruled out in the second half when Slimani was adjudged to be offside when he met Marc Albrighton’s cross.

In the close minutes, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s superb reflexes secured the three points for Leicester by keeping out Andreas Cornelius’ shot with a one-handed save.

In the other Group G game, Porto beat Club Brugge 2-1 to condemn the bottom-place Belgian side to a third successive loss.

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