By Timothy Dehinbo
Leicester City cruised to a debut victory in the Champions League as they beat Club Brugge 3-0 at the Jan Breydel Stadium on Wednesday night.
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri made two changes from Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, handing a debut to club-record signing Islam Slimani, but it was a familiar face in Marc Albrighton who gave the champions of England a dream start in Bruges.
The former Aston Villa midfielder ghosted in unmarked at the back post inside five minutes to volley home Luis Hernandez’s long throw before Riyad Mahrez doubled Leicester’s lead just shy of the half-hour mark with a sublime free-kick from the edge of the box.
Mahrez then helped himself to a second from the penalty spot 16 minutes after the break, converting after Jamie Vardy had been upended in the box by Brugge goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle to ensure Leicester took all three points back to the East Midlands.
It was the home side who threatened first in a breathless opening five minutes, however, and they should have taken the lead when Jose Izquierdo was sent clean through on goal only to place his shot wide of Kasper Schemichel’s upright.
It was a chance Brugge would rue almost immediately, as just seconds later, the Foxes took the lead through Albrighton. Hernandez’s long throw wreaked havoc in the home side’s box and Albrighton was on hand at the back post to volley home unmarked after defender Hans Vanaken had inadvertently headed it into his path.
The hosts were extremely fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men in the 28th minute when Timmy Simons cynically brought down Vardy on the edge of the box after he seized on a loose pass, but Mahrez duly delivered the punishment with a stunning strike into the top corner to give the English champions a 2-0 lead.