Millers fall to away defeat against league leaders....
Rotherham United proved a tough nut to crack against Premier League-bound Leicester City until the hour mark at the King Power Stadium but once the floodgates opened, Enzo Maresca’s high-flying side ran out comfortable victors in the end.
The Millers’ frustrated the hosts for large spells of the clash but Patson Daka finally broke Rotherham’s resistance with a close range effort.
Daka added a second goal soon after from the spot after Viktor Johansson was penalised before sub Cesare Casadei rubbed salt into Millers wounds’ with a headed third goal.
It was top versus bottom and the odds were stacked against the Millers before-hand but despite a resolute defensive display for two-thirds of the game, the result went true to form with the runaway Sky Bet Championship leaders coasting to their fifth successive victory.
New Head Coach Leam Richardson made two changes to his starting line-up following their heart breaking last-gasp defeat at the hands of Plymouth Argyle last time out.
Experienced operator Sean Morrison was recalled at the heart of the Millers rearguard, and took the skipper’s armband in the process. Spanish defender Daniel Ayala was sitting the first of a two-match ban following his sending-off at Home Park.
Aston Villa loanee Sebastian Revan was asked to play as a left sided centre-half as part of a five-man backline.
The tone of the game was set early with Leicester commanding the lion’s share of possession and territory, unsurprisingly, but Sam Nombe was unfortunate not to win an early corner.
At the other end, Abdul Fatawu made light work of Cohen Bramall initially but to his credit, the Rotherham wing-back recovered well to snuff out his centre but Jannik Vestergaard’s downward header was deflected wide before Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall blazed over with his weaker right foot in the next phase of play.
Stephy Mavididi showed his confidence in front of goal when he slotted home with a tidy finish but the offside flag had long been raised before Rotherham had a good spell of possession in both halves of the pitch with the noisy Millers travelling contingent serenading every pass.
The Millers had their first real scare when Mavididi’s slide-rule pass presented Dewsbury-Hall with the chance to get on the wrong side of Hakeem Odoffin, but Johansson - at the home of his former club – raced off his line to narrow down his options, before pulling off a fine save at close quarters.
Minutes later, Wilfred Ndidi had a snap shot blocked on the edge of the box before Revan showed a great deal of bravery at the far post to divert Dewsbury Hall’s hooked cross to safety with Daka looking a certain scorer.
Both sides traded chances when Ndidi then stung the palms of Johansson with a low drive from distance before Morrison caused havoc in the Leicester back-line with back-to-back long throws but no damage was done.
The Millers had a let off when Mavididi robbed Odoffin in possession near the touchline and the converted centre-half – in an attempt to made amends – dangled a leg when making a challenge and the home frontman took a tumble in the box, but no further action was taken.
Odoffin was in the thick of the action and he produced a superb goal saving block to deny Ricardo Pereira after good work by Mavididi.
Home frustration was rising and it was no more in evidence when Ndidi hung up a cross which Mavididi blasted high, and not very handsome, into the home fans stationed behind Johansson’s goal.
With half-time approaching, Rotherham were defending their box resolutely and Wout Faes was forced to try his luck with distance but his long-range effort harmlessly cleared the crossbar before Dexter Lembikisa was well-stationed at the far post to head clear under pressure from Mavididi.
In the last act of the half, Fatawu became the first to see yellow for a foul on Christ Tiehi.
Half-time: Leicester City 0 Rotherham United 0
The Millers were pinned back at the start of the second half and Dewsbury-Hall had a shot deflected behind before Johansson plucked Fatawu’s corner out of the sky.
However, the danger was not over and Rotherham were almost the victims of their own downfall when the Swedish ‘keeper rolled the ball out to Revan, who had his pocket nipped by Fatawu, and the ball rolled tantalisingly to Daka - whose first-time, low effort fizzed past Johansson – but Morrison showed all his vast experience, to hack the ball clear from near his own goal-line and spare his side’s blushes.
It was wave after wave of Leicester attacks and Ricardo headed wide from Fatawu’s cross with Mavididi arguably better placed to nod home at the far post before Johansson was well-placed to deny Ricardo after Dewsbury-Hall’s lay off.
Daka failed to make the most of a home attack when his tame effort which straight down the throat of Johansson.
The Millers almost silenced the home faithful when Ollie Rathbone’s slide-rule pass presented Bramall with the chance to deliver a cross which Nombe came agonisingly to turning home but he failed to make a telling connection, although the assistant referee had already flagged for offside.
However, Rotherham’s brave resistance was finally broken on the hour mark.
Faes injected pace into a home move and following a number of passes, the home defender struck an effort which Johansson could only parry into the danger area, and the Millers were somewhat unfortunate when Ndidi’s attempted effort lofted invitingly into the path of Daka, who made no mistake at the second attempt to slot home from close range.
The home side – were visibly lifted by the breakthrough – and they soon doubled their lead following some sloppy defending from the visitors.
There looked little danger when Morrison played a square pass to Revan, whose clearance was cut out – and with Morrison and Johansson slow to react – Daka sensed an opportunity and he won a foot race with the Millers ‘keeper, before being felled by him, near to the edge of the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Daka dusted himself down to take the spot kick and Johansson – who was given a yellow card for the foul - went the right way, but he was beaten by the power of the shot from 12 yards.
The floodgates were now open and it was no surprise when the Foxes added a third goal with 18 minutes to go when two of their substitutes combined superbly.
Dennis Praet played a pass into the path of Ricardo, who delivered a delicious centre, and with Johansson and no Rotherham defender in a position to intervene, fellow sub Casadei – in what may have been his first involvement – had the simple task of nodding home from close range.
The Foxes were running riot and they threatened a fourth goal near the end when Mavididi was denied by Johansson before sub Hamza Choudhury fired wide.
Full-time: Leicester City 3 Rotherham United 0
Leicester City 3
Rotherham United 0
Teams: Leicester- Hermansen, Justin (Souttar 78), Faes, Winks, Mavididi, Fatawu (Yunus 55), Daka, Ricardo (Choudhury 78) , Dewsbury-Hall (Praet 70), Vestergaard, Ndidi (Casadei 70). Unused- Coady, Iheanacho, Cannon, Stolarczyk.
Rotherham- Johansson, Lembikisa, Bramall, Hugill (Kelly 69), Lindsay (Clucas 78), Rathbone, Odoffin, Morrison, Tiehi, Revan, Nombe (Eaves 69). Unused- Clucas, Phillips, Appiah, McGuckin.
Referee- D Bond