Gray and Vardy ensure Rodgers gets off to a flyer at Leicester

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YOU could have staked your house on Jamie Vardy finding the net in front of new Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.

If any player at the King Power Stadium did not see eye to eye with sacked boss Claude Puel it was Vardy.

Jamie Vardy kicked off the Brendan Rodgers era at Leicester in winning fashion
Jamie Vardy kicked off the Brendan Rodgers era at Leicester in winning fashion
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Demarai Gray got the Foxes off to a dream start against Brighton
Demarai Gray got the Foxes off to a dream start against Brighton
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And sure enough, it was the Foxes’ star striker who kicked off the Rodgers era with three points.

The former England striker made it clear Puel’s methods did not suit his game as he cut an isolated figure at times this season.

But, with Rodgers watching on from the stands, Vardy proved he still had the taste for goal with his ninth of the season.

And Leicester needed it as they secured their first win in almost two months.

Brendan Rodgers received a warm welcome at the King Power after joining from Celtic
Brendan Rodgers received a warm welcome at the King Power after joining from Celtic
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Brendan Rodgers watched his new side defeat Brighton on Tuesday
Brendan Rodgers watched his new side defeat Brighton on Tuesday
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Vardy struck in the 63rd minute to stop a dreadful run of four consecutive home defeats
Vardy struck in the 63rd minute to stop a dreadful run of four consecutive home defeats
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Davy Propper pulled one back for Brighton to set up a nervy finish
Davy Propper pulled one back for Brighton to set up a nervy finish
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Because Rodgers will have seen first hand that the problems that have dogged the Foxes this season as Brighton had the better of things for long spells.

But it was a night to forget for Seagulls striker Glenn Murray who made two glaring misses.


‘I’LL GIVE MY LIFE’ Rodgers named Leicester manager after leaving Celtic to sign £6m deal


It did not take long for the Rodgers effect to kick in – ten minutes to be precise.

That is when Demarai Gray opened the scoring.


But the new Foxes boss was right to react with a mere polite round of applause – as it was not plain sailing for his new team.

Only two excellent saves from keeper Kasper Schmeichel – and a howler from Murray – stopped Chris Hughton’s side equalising.

Even when Vardy put Leicester two up – Davy Propper pulled one back to make sure the Foxes could not rest.

But while Vardy took his chance, Murray’s torture went on as he put another opportunity wide with two minutes left as Leicester’s goal led a charmed life at times with Brighton threatening to rescue a point.

Ex-Liverpool boss Rodgers was confirmed as the new Foxes manager before the game after his rapid departure from Celtic – and watched from the stands while caretaker manager Mike Stowell took charge.

Brighton's Martin Montoya in action with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy
Brighton’s Martin Montoya in action with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy
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Jamie Vardy thumps the ball home to break Brightons hearts
Jamie Vardy thumps the ball home to break Brighton’s hearts
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But the very sight of Puel’s successor in the directors’ box – after three and a half years out of the English game – meant Leicester were always going to make a lightning fast start.

And for once, they took the lead instead of doing it the hard way by going behind as they have done league-high 19 times this season.

Leicester opened the scoring when a superbly weighted ball from Youri Tielemans allowed Gray a clear run on goal.

Brighton’s marking allowed Gray time to pick his spot and place the ball perfectly past keeper Mat Ryan.

But Ryan then pulled off a fine save to stop Gray adding a second after being set up by Ben Chilwell.

Demarai Gray needed just ten minutes to break the deadlock at the King Power
Demarai Gray needed just ten minutes to break the deadlock at the King Power
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Kasper Schmeichel celebrates after Jamie Vardys strike
Kasper Schmeichel celebrates after Jamie Vardy’s strike
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James Maddison holds his head in his hands after missing a chance for Leicester
James Maddison holds his head in his hands after missing a chance for Leicester
Getty Images

Brighton were in no mood to roll over though and Duffy headed wide after rising above the Leicster defence.

As well as Rodgers, there as was another significant manager in the crowd – Gareth Southgate.

He had eyes on five Foxes players with Vardy ruling himself out of international duty.

And he will have noted Barnes’ electric pace on the left hand side which caused Hughton’s side problems.

Right-back Martin Montoya had no answer to Barnes after 22 minutes when the Leicester wide man left him standing before a pull on the shirt earned the Brighton defender a yellow card.

But the defensive fragility that crept in towards the end of Puel’s final game against Crystal Palace last Saturday was obvious once more.

Chris Hughtons Brighton remain deep in the relegation mire
Chris Hughton’s Brighton remain deep in the relegation mire
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Brendan Rodgers will be delighted with what he saw against Brighton
Brendan Rodgers will be delighted with what he saw against Brighton
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Pascal Gross’ shot deflected off Harry Maguire and forced keeper Kasper Schmeichel into push the ball out for a corner.

And Schmeichel came to Leicester’s rescue again when he dived low to brilliant stop a snapshot from ex-Foxes forward Anthony Knockaert – makes only his fifth start in the last 19 league games.

Vardy looked ready to pounce on any Brighton mistakes. But it was Knockaert who confirmed Brighton’s growing confidence with a cross would have presented Murray with a goal but for Ricardo’s clearance.

But when Murray was presented with an open goal after the break – he blew his chance.

Brighton again look dangerous going forwards and Gross found Knockeart whose outrageous back heel fell to Murray who only had to be on target to equaliser – but he blazed over the bar.

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Leicester continued to live dangerously at the back and sub Yves Bissouma flashed a 20-yard shot just wide on the hour.

But it took Vardy to settle the Foxes’ nerves in the 63rd minutes when he rounded off an excellent move.

Ricardo fed Maddison and he released Vardy who cut in from the right before rifling his shot in at the near post.

But, again, Brighton would not allow the Foxes to ease up.

And three minutes later, Propper got the better of Tielemans to pull one back for the Seagulls.

Leicester almost grabbed a third goal on the break when Maddison found Barnes who shot into the side netting.

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