(EFE) – Kelechi Iheanacho left Manchester City four years ago for Leicester, which he directed this Saturday to the title of the Community Shield, the main protagonist and determinant of the triumph on the verge of the end at Wembley because of his faith, because he was the object of penalty and because he himself transformed it (1-0) to frustrate Pep Guardiola and Jack Grealish, discreet in his debut.
While the spotlights were directed towards the billionaire signing, released with City with just one training session, when he entered the field in the 65th minute, no one was as decisive for the match as Ihenacho, also a substitute, but much more definitive when the match seemed destined to the uncertain round of penalties.
It took only ten minutes. It is true that, already in 88, nothing would have been possible without the excess of confidence, the error or the concession, depending on the interpretation, of the central Aké when he received an inopportune -perhaps- pass behind Rodrigo, as much as without the pressure from Ihenacho everything would have ended in nothing. Not only did he steal the ball from him, but he also promoted the winning penalty.
Later, he transformed the launch to make Leicester champion and to defeat City, which, still at the beginning of August, has a lot to refine, although its reduced version also depended on the special circumstances of this preseason, conditioned by the European Championship and the Cup. America, because the great footballers, the most recognizable, have joined later.
A comparison describes the situation: between the final of the Champions League against Chelsea last season and the Community Shield that marks the start of this year in England, only three players repeated in Guardiola’s eleven. Only center-back Ruben Dias, midfielder Ikkay Gundogan and winger Ryan Mahrez, the offensive highlight of a team that barely shot on goal.
Neither Kevin de Bruyne nor Phil Foden, in the process of recovery; neither Kyle Walker nor Raheem Sterling nor John Stones … Nor Rodrigo Hernández, on the bench first, on the field from minute 65. Yes, Ferrán Torres played, who was noted that it was only his first preseason game, that still needs more filming.
Leicester, the Cup champion, did not hesitate against the League champion. He neither speculated nor considered it, in that vertical midfield forward football, in the agitation caused by James Vardy, in the ambition he unleashed from the beginning at Wembley, stopped by the City goalkeeper today: Zack Steffen. A regular substitute.
He did not go ahead at half-time due to a miraculous stop, as fantastic as it was incredible. Against the foot, before a volley with Vardy’s left foot just three meters away, when he took out a fabulous right hand that allowed him to deflect the goal just enough and direct it towards the post, which repelled it to the disbelief of the Leicester striker.
Without that extraordinary intervention, nothing to do with the previous occasions that he had cleared, two of them also to Vardy, Manchester City would have gone to the interval damaged. Down in the game, in precision, in the match plan, within the rhythm proposed by his rival, he counted only once in the first half, in minute 5, in a direct free kick from Gundogan.
Nothing more, so little, for a team of its level. The match demanded more from the current Premier of the Premier and the last runner-up in Europe, who reacted somewhat from the intermission; more possessive, more precise, more controlling, to tame Leicester at times, to curb the agitation, to assume a match more to your liking.
With their verticality reduced, their chances of recovering and running, their journey to the opposite field, Leicester took refuge in their territory, more due to the effect of their rival than on their own initiative, but aware that they were no longer playing what they wanted. , exposed to City’s goal, which would have been the case if Ndidi weren’t much faster than Mahrez.
And Jack Grealish? A training session is just too little to break into the eleven immediately. Not even if the investment has exceeded one hundred million. Not even with a title at stake. Not with losses as significant as Manchester City suffered. The millionaire signing waited on the bench for his debut the first half, warmed up from minute 48 and emerged on the field in minute 65 on the left wing, neither as overwhelming nor as conclusive as it will be when he has reached more minutes and kilometers of travel.
It was not enough, neither was the entry of Bernando Silva while his future is resolved, for Manchester City, who delivered the title in an unexpected way, when the resolution of the penalties was already looming, with an improper error from Aké, which he removed the ball in the Ihenacho area. He himself transformed the maximum penalty.