Slimani lives up to his reputation with fearsome performance

Islam Slimani was known as the \'Dragon Slayer\' at Sporting Lisbon and this was a Premier League debut likely to go down in Leicester legend.

Published: 18th September 2016 10:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2016 10:00 AM   |  A+A-

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Leicester City's Islam Slimani, left and Burnley's Ben Mee battle for the ball, during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Burnley FC, at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, England. | AP

Islam Slimani was known as the 'Dragon Slayer' at Sporting Lisbon and this was a Premier League debut likely to go down in Leicester legend.

The pounds 29million record signing scored twice as Burnley were butchered to complete another memorable week for Claudio Ranieri's champions, following the excellent start to their European campaign.

Slimani earned the nickname due to his habit of scoring goals against bitter enemies Porto and the striker already appears made to measure in English football, after a performance full of power and aggression.

The other Algeria international in Leicester's squad, Riyad Mahrez, was also excellent and involved in the third goal as Ben Mee turned a cross into his own net late on.

There must have been fears of a hangover after Leicester's Champions League debut in Bruges but it will be Burnley feeling worse for wear after such a convincing defeat.

Slimani, signed on deadline day after a lengthy pursuit that traversed four transfer windows, cannot have envisaged a more perfect debut.

Ranieri said: "It's important Slimani continues to score because if he only scores in the first match we have a problem. He is a good lad and the fans are very happy.

"It was good for Slimani and everyone. We bought him for all the characteristics he showed, he linked very well and pressed so hard during all the match.

"Riyad made also two fantastic performances and I am very pleased that when he plays in this tactical way it was very clever, when to attack, when to defend.

"It was important to win after the Champions League victory, and against a good team that was well organised. Now we are on the left side of the table." Leicester's title defence has been a slow-burner so far, with their 4-1 thumping at Liverpool last weekend even leading to suggestions that the wheels were coming off.

But the historic night against Club Brugge appears to have re-energised Ranieri's players and in particular Mahrez, the PFA Player of the Year.

It has been a frustrating start to the season for the winger but at times here he was electric, with a clear understanding already established with Leicester's most expensive recruit.

There was one run midway through the first half that was magical, as he ran 40 yards with the ball glued to his feet, beating three Burnley players to find his way into the area before shooting straight at the legs of Tom Heaton. -Anything is possible when Mahrez is at his peak.

Burnley were obdurate opponents for 40 minutes and were left to rue a missed chance from Steven Defour. The Belgium international should have done better from close range after finding himself unmarked, heading straight at Leicester goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, starting in place of the injured Kasper Schmeichel.

Yet Leicester were always dangerous, with Mahrez heading narrowly wide before Slimani finally put the home team ahead in first-half added time.

Christian Fuchs's free kick from the left was a nightmare to defend against and the Algerian climbed over Mee to head in from four yards.

He added his second from a similar distance three minutes into the second half, nodding home after Jamie Vardy had flicked on Mahrez's cross.

Leicester could have made the scoreline even more comfortable but had only Mee's own goal 12 minutes from time to show for their dominance.

Ranieri has now gone 18 league games at home without defeat and Burnley manager Sean Dyche was left to reflect on how quickly the momentum of the game turned against his players.

"The reality was four minutes of madness - two before half-time and two after. We gave away a really poor free-kick and they score," said Dyche.

"You are in trouble after that because we're playing against a very good team. They controlled large parts of the game and showed why they are champions.

"We have to keep learning and keep moving forward.

"We're trying to win games at this level and take games to teams and it's difficult. These are the realities of the Premier League."

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