The Emirates FA Cup returns this weekend and it sees Sheffield United of the Championship travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City as both sides look to progress into the quarter-finals.
This will be the second time they have met in cup competition this season as they were drawn against either other in the Carabao Cup back in August. It was the Foxes who came away with a convincing 4-1 win at Brammal Lane.
Like that match, this weekend’s game will be played on a Friday evening but won’t be televised. The hosts will be hoping they can ease past the Blades like they did a few months ago.
Demarai Gray taking his chance
The first-half played out how most people imagined with neither side giving too much away whilst not creating much in the way of chances. Ahmed Musa had the best chance of the half but his poor first touch let him down leaving him with a tight angle and his shot subsequently hit the side netting.
Despite having more of the ball and the better attempts, Leicester almost went a goal down as Ben Hamer almost allowed a weak David Brooks strike to creep over the line.
After the half-time break, the game kicked into life and it was Demarai Gray who provided the brilliant spark. With a point to prove, the mercurial English youngster picked the ball up on the halfway line and drove into the hosts’ penalty area, evading the challenges of a few defenders in the process before calmly sliding the ball underneath Simon Eastwood.
The Slimani show
Sheffield United were under the cosh at this stage and it wasn’t long before the away side were two goals to the good. Andy King was allowed the freedom of the pitch and played an inch-perfect through ball into Islam Slimani, who took one touch around the keeper and slotted into the empty net.
The Algerian was at the double just a few moments later as he was at the back post to turn home Gray’s fantastic deep cross from a yard out. United managed to pull one back and it was a freak consolation goal in many ways. Caolan Lavery found space down the right-hand side and caught out Hamer with an arrowing effort that the Foxes’ second-choice keeper certainly wasn’t expecting.
Despite that late glimmer of hope for the Championship side, Leicester confirmed their place in the third round with an injury-time goal from Musa. The former CSKA Moscow forward took his chance at the second attempt after his first shot was blocked, firing the ball into the roof of the net with the help of a hand from Eastwood.
It was a game that could’ve been a potential banana skin for the top-flight side but they came through it with flying colours, which they will be looking to recreate on Friday evening.