The magnificent Patson Daka scored four coolly-taken goals as Leicester boosted their Europa League qualification hopes by brilliantly coming back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow.
The Zambia international has had limited opportunities to assert himself in the Foxes first team this season, but demonstrated the clever movement and composure in front of goal that prompted them to part with £22m to sign him from Red Bull Salzburg last summer.
City have struggled throughout this European campaign and had looked to be on course for another damaging defeat in the snowy Russian capital as Spartak took a 2-0 lead.
Alexander Sobolev fired in the first via a deflection before former Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses set up Jordan Larsson – the son of ex-Swedish international forward Henrik – to slot in the second.
Crucially, though, Leicester responded immediately, with Daka slotting in after getting on the end of Kelechi Iheanacho’s chipped through-ball.
The Zambia international, who was a goalscoring late substitute in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Manchester United, levelled matters soon after the break with another neat finish, again set up by Iheanacho.
And before the hour mark it was 3-2 as Daka timed his run to perfection to latch onto Youri Tielemans’ pass before slotting in low.
He was not done yet, though, with James Maddison releasing him to seal the win with another side-foot finish with 10 minutes to go.
There was still time for Spartak to scare City, courtesy of Sobolev’s second goal of the game, but the Foxes were able to hold on for the victory.
It is their first of this season’s competition, leaving them second in Group C on four points, two behind leaders Legia Warsaw, who face Italian side Napoli on Thursday.
Lift off for Daka in his Leicester career
Jamie Vardy’s evergreen ability to excel at the highest level was always likely to make Daka’s integration into this Leicester side a gradual one.
But the high hopes for the Zambian at City were evident from the moment last season’s Austrian Bundesliga player of the season opted to switch to the east midlands in the summer.
It took the 23-year-old five competitive appearances to find his first goal – that bundled late fourth against Manchester United at the weekend – but having now broken that duck he looks unwilling to stop scoring.
All four of his finishes were – dare it be said – Vardy-like in their ruthless simplicity, with the third and fourth in particular showing an ability to hang on the shoulder of the last defender before pouncing on a through-ball, much like the former England forward.
Impressively, it is the second time he has netted four goals in a game in a little over a year, also doing so for Salzburg in a 10-0 Austrian Cup win over SW Bregenz in September 2020.
With Iheanacho also excelling in Moscow, Rodgers now has a whole raft of in-form attacking talent at his disposal as they seek a level of consistency in results to match the last two seasons.
However, they still have issues to work through at the other end of the field.
Spartak’s high pressing caused them problems and the Russian side’s ability to exploit poor positioning and the space left by it meant that each of Daka’s four strikes was required to secure victory.
- 68LitvinovBooked at 33mins
- 47ZobninSubstituted forIgnatovat 69′minutes
- 6Dantas de Medeiros
- 11LarssonSubstituted forLomovitskiyat 90′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 10BakaevSubstituted forPromesat 68′minutes
- 6EvansSubstituted forVestergaardat 82′minutes
- 21Ricardo PereiraBooked at 30minsSubstituted forAlbrightonat 60′minutes
- 8TielemansSubstituted forChoudhuryat 65′minutes
- 42SoumaréBooked at 88mins
- 33ThomasSubstituted forBertrandat 82′minutes
- Anastasios Sidiropoulos
Match ends, Spartak Moscow 3, Leicester City 4.
Second Half ends, Spartak Moscow 3, Leicester City 4.
Foul by James Maddison (Leicester City).
Mikhail Ignatov (Spartak Moscow) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Alexander Lomovitskiy (Spartak Moscow) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Alexander Lomovitskiy (Spartak Moscow).
Foul by Daniel Amartey (Leicester City).
Alexander Sobolev (Spartak Moscow) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Spartak Moscow. Alexander Lomovitskiy replaces Jordan Larsson.
Boubakary Soumaré (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Boubakary Soumaré (Leicester City).
Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moscow) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ryan Bertrand (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Victor Moses (Spartak Moscow).
Goal! Spartak Moscow 3, Leicester City 4. Alexander Sobolev (Spartak Moscow) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Victor Moses.
Foul by Ryan Bertrand (Leicester City).
Victor Moses (Spartak Moscow) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ryan Bertrand (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Victor Moses (Spartak Moscow).