With a boisterous home crowd behind them, Spartak absorbed Leicester’s early pressure and slowly gained momentum. Just over 10 minutes in, the Russian side broke forward and, although the ‘Foxes’ defenders appeared to have any outlets blocked off, a curling shot from Aleksandr Sobolev took a heavy deflection to wrong-foot Kasper Schmeichel and give the hosts an early 1-0 advantage.
Five minutes before the break, the game descended into chaos. First, Victor Moses caught the visitors in possession before playing a square ball to Jordan Larsson, who stabbed home to double Spartak’s lead. However, Brendan Rodgers’ men reacted in superb fashion. Straight from the kick-off, the Premier League side drove the ball down the field, and an inch-perfect pass from Kelechi Iheanacho played in Patson Daka, who fired the ball home to halve the deficit just moments before the referee blew his whistle for HT.
After the interval, the two Leicester strikers picked up right where they left off when Iheanacho, played in by a fantastic ball from Luke Thomas, slid across to Daka once more for the Zambia international to coolly tap home and level proceedings. The turnaround was complete when Daka slotted through the legs of Spartak goalkeeper Aleksandr Maksimenko to grab his hat-trick in style, making it three unanswered goals in only eight minutes from the visitors. Incredibly, Daka scored his fourth with just over ten minutes remaining, curling beyond Maksimenko from James Maddison’s through ball to cap off Leicester’s revival. It got nervy for the travelling Leicester supporters when Sobolev struck home for a second time soon after, but the Russians’ attempts to find an equaliser were in vain.
The comeback victory will be received with jubilation back in Leicester, with this only their second win in eight UEFA Europa League outings. For ‘Narodnaya’, meanwhile, this is the ninth successive match without a win against English opposition