Spartak Moscow 3-4 Leicester: Summer signing Patson Daka scores FOUR to see Foxes come back from two down to revive Europa League hopes with first win in Group C
Life without Jamie Vardy is a frightening prospect for Leicester but at least they have a man to ease the load on one of the greatest footballers in their history.
Patson Daka produced probably the finest performance by a Foxes player in European competition with all four goals as they fought back from 2-0 down to beat Spartak Moscow and revive their chances of qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League.
Daka, a Zambia international, was signed from Red Bull Salzburg for £20million as Leicester accepted they cannot rely on Vardy forever. Even though Vardy has scored seven goals already this term, he turns 35 in January and was rested for this match, giving Daka his chance. How he took it.
Patson Daka gave Leicester a glimpse of the future with a four-goal display vs Spartak Moscow
The Zambian is now the Foxes’ join top-scorer in Europe following his display in Russia
The Foxes fought back from 2-0 down through Daka to revive their Europa League hopes
With half-time approaching, Leicester trailed 2-0 to goals from Aleksandr Sobolev and Jordan Larsson – the son of former Celtic striker Henrik – and their Europa League hopes were fading. Then Daka took over, producing a nine-minute hat-trick either side of the interval and adding his fourth in the 79th minute.
Remarkably, this performance alone meant Daka joined Vardy and Harvey Barnes as Leicester’s top scorers in European competition, and he now has five goals in as many days after he was also on target in the 4-2 win over Manchester United. Sobolev scored his second late on but Spartak could not deny Leicester.
‘It’s been an amazing few days both for me and the team,’ said Daka. ‘I love being here and I’m happy to be able to play my part. It was a great performance.
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Spartak Moscow (3-4-3): Maksimenko 5.5; Rasskazov 5, Gigot 5, Dzhikiya 5.5; Moses 7, Zobnin 6 (Ignatov 69, 6), Litvinov 6, Ayrton 7; Bakaev 6.5 (Promes 68, 6), Sobolev 7, Larsson 6.5 (Lomovitski 90).
Subs not used: Rebrov, Selikhov, Kutepov, Eschenko, Gaponov, Melnikov.
Scorers: Sobolev 11, 86, Larsson 44
Booked: Litvinov, Lomovitski
Manager: Rui Vitoria 6
Leicester (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel 6; Amartey 5.5, Evans 6.5, Soyuncu 6.5; Pereira 5.5 (Albrighton 60, 6), Tielemans 7 (Choudhury 65, 6), Soumare 7.5, Thomas 5.5; Maddison 7; Iheanacho 7, DAKA 9.5.
Subs not used: Ward, Jakupovic, Bertrand, Barnes, Vardy, Dewsbury-Hall, Vestergaard, Castagne, Benkovic, Lookman.
Scorers: Daka 45, 48, 54, 79
Booked: Pereira, Soumare
Manager: Brendan Rodgers 7
Referee: Tasos Sidiropoulos 6
‘Jamie Vardy has been one of my inspirations. I’m sure you can tell that my playing style is similar to his and it’s a very big privilege for me to be working alongside him. He helps me a lot in training and I keep learning every day.’
Rodgers believes 10 points will be enough to reach the knockout stages and after Leicester secured back-to-back wins for the first time since August, he can see a route there. Leicester’s next two matches are at home, against Spartak and Legia Warsaw next month, and six points will take them into double figures.
Yet after taking only one point from their first two matches, this was must-win for Rodgers’ men and despite a promising start, they conceded after 11 minutes.
Aleksandr Sobolev (not pictured) opened the scoring for the hosts with a deflected goal
Jordan Larsson (front) then doubled Spartak’s lead after some poor Leicester defending
A minute later Daka claimed his first of the night just before the break to give the Foxes hope
Two minutes into the second half they were level after Kelechi Iheanacho squared for Daka
Sobolev’s shot from the corner of the box deflected off Boubakary Soumare and flew in at the near post. The home side doubled their lead when former Chelsea star Victor Moses robbed Caglar Soyuncu and squared for Larsson to drive first-time past Kasper Schmeichel.
Then Daka took over. Straight after the second, he finished off Kelechi Iheanacho’s deflected pass and then three minutes after the break, the pair combined again as Iheanacho squared for Daka to equalise.
Daka’s special night became even better in the 54th minute. James Maddison released Youri Tielemans and when the Belgian sent Daka clear, he made no mistake. In the 79th minute, Maddison was the provider and the result was the same as Daka fired the ball in at the near post.
The Zambian then completed his hat-trick after sliding the ball between the keeper’s legs
Daka then became Leicester’s joint top scorer in European competitions with a fourth
Sobolev gave Spartak hope with just four minutes remaining after sliding home a cross
But Brendan Rodgers’ men held on to secure their first victory of their Group C campaign
That looked to be the end of the matter. Yet with the influential Jonny Evans substituted, Moses found a way through again and Sobolev turned the cross in from six yards – but Leicester hung on.
‘Patson can learn from Jamie,’ said Rodgers. ‘He can be here for a number of years and he is a clever guy, so he is in pole position by working with Jamie.
‘I’m satisfied with the result and the second-half performance. We showed a great spirit and mentality to come back from 2-0 down, and of course I’m super-satisfied with Patson.’
Re-live all the action from the night with Sportsmail’s live runner below…