(Reuters) - Harvey Barnes thrashed home a magnificent strike to earn Leicester City a 2-1 win on the road on Saturday while rudely ending Sheffield United’s bright start to their return to the Premier League.
After a Jamie Vardy goal had underlined City’s first-half domination, United fought back in stirring fashion on home soil at Bramall Lane to equalise just after the hour through record signing and substitute Ollie McBurnie.
Yet their unbeaten opening to life in the top-flight was then undone by a remarkable goal from Barnes, who powered home a half-volley from outside the box after being found by Christian Fuchs’ cross.
United, undefeated after two matches, went into the game with dreams of going, temporarily at least, to the top of the table but Sheffield-born Vardy’s clinical 38th-minute finish always looked on the cards as Leicester controlled affairs.
The man who supported United’s great rivals Sheffield Wednesday as a boy clearly enjoyed his goal, having earlier glanced a header wide from 10 metres as unbeaten Leicester pursued their first league win of the campaign under Brendan Rodgers.
The home fans had been booing Vardy and, after firing home his goal — his 10th in 13 league games since Rodgers’ arrival at the end of February — he got his own back by cupping his hands over his ears.
When United manager Chris Wilder gambled by bringing on Billy Sharp and McBurnie, it reshaped the game with George Baldock’s 62nd minute cross finding a fine header from the Scotland international McBurnie, his first goal for the club.
Barnes’ superb goal, though, ensured Rodgers’ men moved, temporarily at least, into third place in the table.
“We needed to be ready to fight and show resilience and it was an important three points for us,” said Rodgers, who was pleased with how his side withstood a late barrage.
“We had to change the system in the last 25 minutes to cope with the balls coming into the box.”
As for Barnes’ strike, Rodgers could only note admiringly that the midfielder had demonstrated “fantastic technique” in powering home the winner.
Wilder had no complaints about the outcome as his side’s limitations were shown up. “I didn’t think we deserved anything from the game today,” he told the BBC.
“I think the better team won today. I’m not pleased with the effort because that is just bog standard. ‘Cheers for effort’ doesn’t tick a box for me. There is a lot for us to work on.”
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Toby Davis