AEK Athens 1 Leicester 2: Vardy scores first Europa League goal and Choudhury adds rare strike to maintain perfect start

JAMIE VARDY maintained his remarkable record on the road with his SEVENTH goal in four away games to maintain Leicester’s 100 per cent start to Group G.

AEK Athens can’t claim they weren’t warned – after all, if anyone should be able to recognise a world-class centaur-forward, it’s the Greeks!

The famous creature from Greek mythology was half-man, half-horse and at times, Vardy appears to possess the best qualities of both.

The 33-year-old certainly galloped clear of poor Stratos Svarnas when he burst on to James Maddison’s stunning through ball to earn his side the early penalty which set up this hard-fought win.

The struggling defender clipped Vardy’s hoof – sorry boot – causing the vetreran hitman to stumble as he entered the box.

Goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas was suckered into thinking he had a chance of getting to the ball first and committed himself.

That was the signal for Vardy to fold and wait for contact as he earned the umpteenth penalty of his career.

Tsintotas probably studied hours of footage of Vardy’s penalty taking technique because he guessed the right way and managed to get both hands to his spot kick.

But it was struck with such force that he couldn’t prevent it flying off his gloves and into the corner of his net.

He would have been better studying Vardy’s art of winning penalties and maybe he wouldn’t have been so reckless!

That goal gave the injury-hit Foxes the solid platform they needed to take a firm grip of this tie in a first half they dominated.

It also continued the Leicester legend's incredible scoring feats away from the King Power.

A double to sink West Brom on the opening day of the season at the Hawthorns, a hat-trick in a 5-2 demolition of Manchester City at the Etihad, the winner against Arsenal at the Emirates… and another in Athens Olympic Stadium last night.

Rodgers’ men rode their luck at times but there is no doubt they were a better team than the Greeks, despite taking their foot off the gas after the break.

They were able to because by then they had built up a two-goal lead as Hamza Choudhury showed the strength in depth Rodgers has at his disposal these days.

The homegrown midfielder grabbed a goal on his first start in European competition, six minutes before the break.

James Maddison’s corner was met by the faintest of flicks from Vardy – who else?

With the Greeks' defence flat-footed Choudhury arrived at the back of the box and steered a controlled shot beyond Tsintotas to beat the keeper at his near post.

It was a timely strike because Leicester had been guilty of sloppiness too often for Rodgers’ liking.

AEK skipper Petros Mantalos was a constant nuisance, volleying just over following a quick throw.

Then Svarnas lost his bearings as Michalis Balakis sent him clear of the visitors’ offside trap but the defender didn’t react and the ball ran harmlessly out.

Kasper Schmeichel then rescued his side with a spectacular touch over from a Marko Livaja header.

Athens boss Massimo Carrera went for broke at the break sending on two subs, including Muamer Tankovic.

And the former Fulham man took just three minutes to make an impact when Mantalos sprung Leicester’s offside trap and Tankovic kept his cool to slam the ball between Schmeichel’s legs.

Amazingly, Leicester almost came a cropper in the shadow of the Acropolis moments later when Mantalos repeated the feat but this time the sub fluffed his attempt as he blazed over.

Cengiz Under curled a shot off the AEK post after 65 minutes and five minutes later Vardy departed and was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho.

Job done – he will now trot off to Elland Road for another away day on Monday night.

Don’t bet against him being the centaur of attention again!

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