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Roma loan star on target as Leicester prevail

Quickfire first-half goals from Cengiz Under and Harvey Barnes ensured the Foxes earned victory.

Leicester City's Cengiz Under celebrates scoring.
Leicester City's Cengiz Under celebrates scoring.
Image: PA

LEICESTER EASED past AEK Athens 2-0 as they marched on in the Europa League to win their group.

Quickfire first-half goals from Cengiz Under and Harvey Barnes ensured the Foxes clinched top spot in Group G.

Brendan Rodgers’ side finished ahead of Braga, who beat Zorya Luhansk 2-0, and will be seeded in Monday’s draw for the last 32.

AEK Athens end their campaign bottom after losing five of their six games, including a 2-1 home defeat to the Foxes.

It was a breeze for the hosts, who were able to leave Jamie Vardy on the bench and were without the injured James Maddison, as they continue their impressive European and domestic efforts.

Under-pressure AEK boss Massimo Carrera had vowed his team would fight after three defeats in their last four games but they folded inside the first 14 minutes.

The Foxes started on top and opened the scoring after 12 minutes.

Youri Tielemans collected Luke Thomas’ pass and his cross should have been comfortably cleared by Stratos Svarnas.

Instead, the defender sliced the ball into the air for Roma loanee Under to lash in a fierce volley from 15 yards.

It got worse for the visitors almost immediately, as the Foxes probed down the left again and when Barnes cut inside his shot hit Ionut Nedelcearu to deflect in.

Two goals in in 133 seconds won the game but the Foxes went for more and Kelechi Iheanacho missed his kick in front of goal after Barnes picked him out.

Barnes tormented wing-back Stavros Vasilantonopoulos and with Danny Ward virtually a spectator in goal the hosts’ lead was never under threat.

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They remained intent on adding to it and Wilfred Ndidi nodded wide before Panagiotis Tsintotas turned Dennis Praet’s fizzing drive over ahead of the break.

It was another European stroll as Leicester maintained their 100 per cent home record – with the Foxes also yet to concede at the King Power Stadium – during a routine second half.

The lively Under saw his effort comfortably saved by Tsintotas after more defensive sloppiness from AEK and Barnes’ strong run ended with the winger shooting wide.

Praet prodded wide with 18 minutes left and Tsintotas gathered Ayoze Perez’s close-range strike with Leicester in cruise control.

That they failed to find a third matter little as AEK’s fragile defence managed to hold firm and the visitors nearly grabbed a surprise late consolation when Nelson Oliveira ballooned over after Wes Morgan blocked his initial effort.

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