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Cardiff City 0-1 Leicester City: Demarai Gray scores winner on emotional day

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Emotional Leicester team observe silence at Cardiff

Leicester City played with great will and nerve to beat Cardiff City on an emotional day as the Foxes returned to action for the first time since the death of their owner in a helicopter crash.

On an afternoon when football seemed both an irrelevance and a form of release for Leicester's grieving players and fans, the two clubs united to remember Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and the other four people who lost their lives on 27 October.

Leicester's players were visibly moved during a minute's silence and, after the laying of wreaths before the match, there were further tributes including the unfurling of banners shared between the two sets of fans, who joined forces to create a stirring atmosphere of rare solidarity.

Once the match at Cardiff City Stadium was under way, it was contested as fiercely as any Premier League fixture with chances at both ends in a goalless but competitive first half.

Cardiff's Victor Camarasa struck the crossbar with a free-kick and Jamie Vardy felt Leicester should have had a penalty when his shot appeared to hit Sol Bamba's arm.

However, the Foxes were not to be denied and, after Demarai Gray scored with a low finish early in the second half, there was a huge outpouring of emotion as the entire team celebrated together before running over to their travelling supporters.

After scoring, Gray removed his jersey to reveal an undershirt on which the words 'For Khun Vichai' were emblazoned as a tribute to Srivaddhanaprabha, whose name the Leicester fans continued to sing for the rest of a highly charged and poignant afternoon.

After the final whistle, the Leicester players and backroom team stood and applauded with their fans long after the game had ended.

The Foxes move up to 10th in the table while Cardiff drop into the relegation zone in 18th after Newcastle beat Watford 1-0.

Grieving Leicester honour their owner

Leicester fans paid tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha throughout the game
Leicester fans paid tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha throughout the game

Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in the crash outside Leicester's King Power Stadium following their previous league game against West Ham, was an owner revered and loved like few others.

The Thai billionaire bought Leicester in 2010 for £39m, cleared their debts and oversaw the club's promotion to the top flight four years later. They then beat odds of 5,000-1 to claim the Premier League title in 2015-16 in one of the greatest sporting stories of all time.

His death - along with those of Nusara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz - was described as the darkest day in the club's history.

The tragedy cast a shadow over the entire city, evident in the outpouring of grief throughout the week from players, staff and supporters.

Having postponed Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie against Southampton, this return to action gave Leicester the opportunity to pay their respects on the pitch.

It was a decision to which the club gave deep consideration, consulting the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the players, who Vardy said were determined to honour their owner's name with a display of strength.

They were wholeheartedly backed by their travelling supporters, most of whom were wearing t-shirts bearing an image of Srivaddhanaprabha's face and the words 'The Boss'.

During the pre-match warm-up, Leicester's players were even given a standing ovation by Cardiff's fans, such was the sense of harmony as the two clubs stood shoulder to shoulder in such extraordinary circumstances.

The Foxes rose to the occasion admirably, harnessing the emotion of the occasion and using it to fuel a powerful performance.

Next, the players will fly to Thailand to attend Srivaddhanaprabha's funeral as Leicester - the club and city - continues to grieve.

Demarai Gray
The entire Leicester team celebrated Demarai Gray's goal

Foxes overcome penalty controversy to get win

Leicester manager Claude Puel had said beforehand the result was "not important", while his Cardiff counterpart Neil Warnock acknowledged football can seem "irrelevant" in the aftermath of such a tragedy.

However, they fully supported the decision to play and, after the solemnity of the pre-match tributes, Cardiff City Stadium was at full volume as the game started at a ferocious pace.

The hosts set the tempo, pressing their opponents and trying to force them into mistakes.

That approach almost bore fruit after half an hour, with an unsettled Leicester defence fouling Harry Arter on the edge of the penalty area and Camarasa striking the resultant free-kick against the crossbar.

After a tricky period in which England centre-back Harry Maguire left the field injured, Leicester eventually got a foothold in the game and had an excellent chance to score when Wilfred Ndidi headed wide from a corner.

The Foxes felt they should have had a penalty just before the interval but, although Vardy's shot on the rebound appeared to hit Bamba's arm, referee Lee Probert ignored the visitors' furious protestations.

It did not prove to be a costly decision for Puel's side, who made the decisive breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half.

Ben Chilwell sped into the penalty area and clipped a perfectly weighted cross to Gray, who carefully guided his half-volley low into the net to spark emotional celebrations which will live long in the memory.

'Hopefully we did his family proud' - what they said

Leicester's players celebrate with fans at the end
Leicester's players celebrated the victory with travelling fans at full-time while displaying a banner in honour of Vichai

Leicester captain Wes Morgan: "You can see by our reaction at the end of the game, how much we wanted to get the win and do it for the chairman. We felt the pressure before the game. It was a scrappy game, the lads fought to the very end.

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Cardiff 0-1 Leicester: Today is the first step for Leicester - Claude Puel

"We were very close to the chairman. We know what his wishes were. He used to come down at home games, have a joke and laugh, always say 'want win and three points'. We did that today. It has not been an easy week, we had to try and hold our emotions in today and do the best we can. We have a very emotional connection with the fans, so we stayed till the end and celebrated victory with them."

Leicester manager Claude Puel: "It was a normal thing for us to have the players and staff for the minute's silence, it is important for solidarity and we want to give our best for our chairman, step by step, to continue his work.

"It is a family and I think Vichai with his warmth, it is a mission to keep this way, and put in place a project that we must try to continue. When we saw the flowers in front of the stadium - it is a family and the feeling that our chairman gave this club."

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel: "That was a tough game not just on the pitch but mentally. There are a lot of exhausted people in there now but I am proud of this team and the club, the way everyone has handled themselves has been unbelievable. We were very lucky to know Khun Vichai.

"Today was difficult, coming out for the warm-up was tough, the first 10 minutes I couldn't steady myself, I was shaking a little bit. But it was nice to get a win to take to Thailand now and hopefully we did his family proud."

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Fine margins decided game on surreal day - Neil Warnock

Cardiff defender Sol Bamba: "He [Vichai] was a good man. I had the chance to meet him and he was a big loss. It was difficult for us, the whole build-up wasn't easy to handle. But that is not an excuse, the gaffer warned us about this. Obviously we pay respects before and after, but during the game we are professional."

Man of the match - Ben Chilwell

Ben Chilwell
The left-back dealt solidly with his few defensive duties but it was in attack where he excelled, constantly speeding down the left flank and providing a delightful assist for the winning goal

Stats - Cardiff draw a blank again

  • Cardiff have just one win in their past 15 Premier League games, drawing three and losing 11.
  • Leicester are the only side to score in all their Premier League games this season (11 games).
  • Cardiff have failed to score in six Premier League games this season, a joint-divisional high along with Huddersfield and Southampton.
  • Leicester have won seven of their past nine Premier League games against promoted sides (drawn one, lost one).
  • Leicester have won three of their past five Premier League away games (lost two), as many victories as they had managed in their previous 12 on the road in the competition (drawn one, lost eight).

What's next?

Leicester's players travel to Bangkok for the funeral of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and arrive back in midweek to prepare for their home match against Burnley on Saturday, 10 November (15:00 GMT) while Cardiff host Brighton on the same day at 12:30.

Line-ups

Cardiff

  • 1Etheridge
  • 5Ecuele Manga
  • 4Morrison
  • 22Bamba
  • 3Bennett
  • 21Camarasa
  • 17Gunnarsson
  • 7ArterBooked at 45minsSubstituted forWardat 79'minutes
  • 11MurphySubstituted forMadineat 85'minutes
  • 14ReidSubstituted forHoilettat 65'minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 13Paterson

Substitutes

  • 9Ward
  • 12Smithies
  • 18Cunningham
  • 20Damour
  • 23K Harris
  • 24Madine
  • 33Hoilett

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 14Ricardo PereiraBooked at 33mins
  • 5Morgan
  • 15MaguireSubstituted forEvansat 27'minutes
  • 3Chilwell
  • 24Mendy
  • 25Ndidi
  • 11Albrighton
  • 10MaddisonSubstituted forIborraat 82'minutes
  • 7GrayBooked at 55minsSubstituted forSimpsonat 70'minutes
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 2Simpson
  • 6Evans
  • 8Iheanacho
  • 12Ward
  • 21Iborra
  • 27Diabaté
  • 28Fuchs
Referee:
Lee Probert
Attendance:
30,877

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home11
Away13
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away12
Fouls
Home13
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Cardiff City 0, Leicester City 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Cardiff City 0, Leicester City 1.

Attempt missed. Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Joe Bennett with a cross.

Offside, Leicester City. Ricardo Pereira tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Leicester City).

Bruno Ecuele Manga (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gary Madine (Cardiff City).

Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Joe Bennett (Cardiff City).

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Neil Etheridge.

Attempt saved. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Wilfred Ndidi with a through ball.

Offside, Leicester City. Ben Chilwell tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Gary Madine replaces Josh Murphy.

Foul by Wes Morgan (Leicester City).

Callum Paterson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Sol Bamba.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Vicente Iborra replaces James Maddison.

Booking

David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City).

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Danny Ward replaces Harry Arter.

Foul by James Maddison (Leicester City).

David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

James Maddison (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Joe Bennett (Cardiff City).

Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Víctor Camarasa with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Ben Chilwell.

Attempt missed. Víctor Camarasa (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Ben Chilwell.

Attempt missed. Jonny Evans (Leicester City) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Wilfred Ndidi following a corner.

Attempt missed. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by James Maddison with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Sean Morrison.

Attempt blocked. Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jonny Evans.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Joe Bennett.

Foul by Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City).

Víctor Camarasa (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Danny Simpson replaces Demarai Gray.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sean Morrison (Cardiff City).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool118302151627
2Man City108202732426
3Chelsea107302471724
4Tottenham118031910924
5Arsenal1172225141123
6Bournemouth116232014620
7Man Utd116231918120
8Watford116141613319
9Everton115331915418
10Leicester115151716116
11Wolves114341112-115
12Brighton114251216-414
13West Ham113261317-411
14Crystal Palace10226713-68
15Burnley112271225-138
16Southampton10145614-87
17Newcastle11137714-76
18Cardiff11128924-155
19Fulham101271128-175
20Huddersfield10037421-173
View full Premier League table

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