Gray strike lifts emotional Leicester

The Associated Press

Leicester’s Demarai Gray celebrates after scoring his side’s goal during Premier League action against Cardiff on Saturday.

AFPLONDON (AFP-Jiji) — Leicester paid an emotional tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as the grief-stricken club won 1-0 at Cardiff following its owner’s tragic death, while Alexandre Lacazette’s late equalizer gave Arsenal a 1-1 draw against new Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.

Thai billionaire Vichai was among five people killed when his helicopter crashed outside Leicester’s King Power Stadium last weekend.

With Vichai’s funeral under way on Saturday in Bangkok, Leicester headed to Cardiff for a match that served as a chance to honor its late owner and begin the healing process.

While results have been rendered irrelevant by the crash, it was fitting that Leicester took the points in its first match since Vichai’s death, thanks to Demarai Gray’s second-half winner at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel felt the tragedy more than most as he witnessed the immediate aftermath of the crash moments after the helicopter went down.

“I feel proud. It’s been a really tough week for everyone. The way everyone at the club handles themselves is a testament to the family Vichai built,” Schmeichel said. “That took a lot. It has been an emotional day. I’m glad we got three points for him.

“I can’t imagine what his family are going through. We did it for him and his family.”

Leicester’s players had worn white T-shirts bearing Vichai’s image and the words “The Boss” on the front of them during the pre-match warm-up.

A minute’s silence was impeccably observed, with a wreath laid on the pitch and images of Vichai shown on the scoreboards behind either goal.

Leicester’s players and staff linked arms on the center circle to pay tribute during a poignant silence that left Schmeichel in tears.

Claude Puel’s team, playing with poise and desire despite their traumatic week, finally had a cathartic moment in the 55th minute.

A superb cross from Ben Chilwell was finished off by Gray, who celebrated by lifting his shirt to reveal a message that read “For Vichai”.

It earned Gray a booking from referee Lee Probert in a move that followed the letter of the law, but showed little common sense given the circumstances.

Leicester’s players huddled together in celebration as time expired, with many of them due to fly to Thailand to join Vichai’s funeral immediately after the game.

On any other weekend, the showdown between revitalized Arsenal and title-chasing Liverpool would have hogged the spotlight, but it shone on Leicester.Speech

Click to play


+ -

Generating speech. Please wait...

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Offline error: please try again.