In Review

Leicester kick start their season as they blow away Brugge

Riyad Mahrez rediscovers his scoring touch as the Foxes finally click into gear on the European stage

Brugge 0 Leicester 3

They may be labouring domestically with just four points from four games but Leicester returned to form in the Champions League with a 3-0 thrashing of Brugge. 

The Premier League champions blew the Belgians away as they made their bow in the Champions League, romping to victory with Marc Albrighton scoring after just five minutes and Riyad Mahrez rediscovering his scoring touch with a brace.

The Algerian, whose 17 goals earned him the PFA player of the year award last season, has started the new Premier League campaign slowly, but he burst to life against Brugge and in the process put the smile back on the face of his manager. 

"He was very good," exclaimed manager Claudio Ranieri. "Maybe the music woke him up. Maybe he is very tired of listening to dilly-ding, dilly-dong and prefers the Champions League music."

The outcome could have been different if Jose Izquierdo has taken a glorious chance after just two minutes to put Brugge ahead, but with only Kasper Schmeichel to beat the striker fluffed his chance. Moments later Albrighton punished the hosts' profligacy, seizing on an error from Brugge right-back Luis Hernandez to drive the ball home.

Mahrez doubled Leicester's advantage on the half-hour mark with a magnificent free-kick and he added a second from the penalty spot on 60 minutes after Jamie Vardy was brought down by the keeper. 

Ranieri revealed later that he had wanted Islam Slimani to take the spot-kick but Mahrez decided to shoulder the responsibility. "I tried to say Slimani because he is a penalty scorer but he (Mahrez) has the personality to choose," explained the Italian, adding with a grin: "If he doesn't score I take the neck and I crush the neck," he joked. 

There will be tougher matches to come for Leicester - their next fixture is a home tie against Group G favourites Porto on 27 September - but the romp against Brugge will have given the Foxes the self-belief that they're good enough for the Champions League. "It's a big test against everyone because with Rostov we are the only two teams never to play in the Champions League," said Ranieri. "Now we play the first match, there are another five... it was good for us to start our story with a victory."

What made the win all the more remarkable was that it was only the ninth European match in Leicester's history, and their first victory since beating Glenavon of Northern Ireland in the preliminary round of the 1961-62 Cup Winners' Cup. 

One would never have guessed watching Leicester play with the confidence of last season, and as Jamie Vardy explained it now sets them up for the rest of the pool stage. "It's the perfect start," said the Leicester striker. "We showed exactly what we can do. No fear, we just played our football and let that do the talking."

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