Leicester 4 – 1 Watford

A spotlight failure and a host of forced changes could not have derailed Leicester as they kicked off their FA Cup defense with a convincing 4-1 win over Watford.

Yuri Tillmans and James Madison got off to a good start for the Foxes in their third-round match at King Power Stadium before Harvey Barnes and Mark Albrighton fired back after Joao Pedro’s response.

The lights went out briefly early in the second half as the Foxes took a 3-1 lead, Pedro hit the crossbar shortly after the start of the second half, but the hosts finished the match stronger.

Foxes fly into the fourth round despite a failed searchlight

It was a lively confrontation, though coaches Brendan Rodgers and Claudio Ranieri made 16 joint changes between them.

Due to the long injury list and Leicester’s Africa Cup of Nations recall, Leicester have accounted for nine of those changes, with only Madison and Hamza Choudary surviving from the team that beat Liverpool on December 28.

But with the likes of Madison, Tillmans and Barnes on the field, the Foxes were still the favorites against Watford and perhaps more concerned about some relegation battles in the coming weeks.

Former Leicester boss Ranieri kept just four players from the squad that Tottenham defeated on New Year’s Day and decided not to risk top scorer Emmanuel Dennis or new signing Samir. Another modern recruit, Hassan Kamara, only took the bench.

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Help Madison Ademola Lookman

Leicester got the perfect start when referee Mike Dean signaled the penalty after ruling Francisco Ceralta dragged Yannick Westergaard.

There was a delay as the VAR checked the decision but Tillmans, who scored the winning goal in last season’s final, was unconcerned as he fired into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Watford responded well with Tom Cleverley’s shot saved by Chaudhry and Moussa Sissoko, but Leicester came close again when Barnes hit the net.

Westergaard then headed in a corner kick before the hosts doubled their lead in the 25th minute as Ademola Lookman turned around and played at Madison, who finished the match smartly over Daniel Bachmann.

Once again Watford reacted positively and got back into the match almost immediately as Ashley Fletcher slipped into Pedro and the Brazilian beat Danny Ward in a similar fashion to Madison moments before.

James Madison
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Madison scored his eighth goal of the season in all competitions

After a quiet end in the first half, Leicester rebounded from the second half and regained their lead with two goals 54 minutes ago. Lookman was again the provider from the left and Barnes raced to finish the match gently after Bachmann.

His celebrations were initially cut short due to the offside flag but his efforts were rewarded as the goal was allowed to remain after a VAR review.

At this point the floodlights went out, plunging the ground into complete darkness. Fans took it up with humor by putting on their spotlights and singing “We’ll Play in the Dark” as the players moved onto the side of the field for impromptu talks with the team.

The issue was quickly resolved and play resumed after a delay of about six minutes. Watford kept fighting and Pedro came close to scoring with a shot that hit the crossbar.

However, Leicester put the match up without a doubt five minutes before the original 90 remaining – even though there were an additional nine minutes.

Lookman made a great save from Bachmann from close range but Albrighton was on hand to fire the rebound into the net.

What then?

Leicester visit Everton at Goodison Park on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports Premier League; The match starts at 8 pm. Watford visit Newcastle in the Premier League at 3pm on Saturday 15 January.

What is the date of the fourth round of the FA Cup?

The FA Cup fourth round draw will take place on Sunday 9 January after West Ham’s clash with Leeds at the London Stadium at approximately 4.50pm.

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