Jamie Vardy became Leicester City’s longest-serving European goalscorer, beating AEK Athens to two out of two Europa League victories.
The 33-year-old gave them the advantage on the penalty spot after being fouled by goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas.
The Foxes looked at ease as Hamza Choudhury doubled the advantage with a smart finish.
But Muamer Tankovic gave hope to AEK after finding himself behind the Fox defense moments after he stepped off the bench.
The former Fulham player nearly equalized two minutes later but smashed his 10-yard shot on the crossbar.
Cengiz Under, on his first start for Leicester, nearly restored the two-goal lead, but his curling effort hit the woodwork.
In the end, they wouldn’t need another lens.
Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers revealed ahead of the game that defenders Jonny Evans and Timothy Castagne are injured with the latter likely out until the international break in November.
Vardy is the key to Leicester again
Vardy’s pace and finish make such a difference for Leicester and it was again evident in the Greek capital.
It was his return to the starting lineup after a calf injury – although he came off the bench this weekend to score the winner against Arsenal.
He made his own piece of history in Athens as he ran over James Maddison’s deep ball and bypassed the keeper, who shot him.
Tsintotas hit Vardy’s kick but he was too powerful to stay away.
He takes Wes Morgan’s record as the oldest player to score for Leicester in Europe. Vardy is 33 years and 292 days old, while Morgan was 240 days younger when he scored in the Champions League against Sevilla in March 2017.
The former England forward has won (four) and scored (five) more penalties in all competitions than anyone playing in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
Maddison was also impressive and his corner led to second base. AEK Athens couldn’t clear and Wesley Fofana got the finishing touches before running to Choudhury, who finished confidently.
AEK hasn’t won a home game in a European group stage in 13 games in 10 years, but they put the Foxes to work for their victory after Tankovic’s lively participation in the second half.
“The pitch was horrible” – manager’s reaction
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers: “The guys have to deal with all the injuries and the games and continue to deliver great results.
“It was a great victory considering all the circumstances and all the players we were missing. They are still producing and doing very well.
“It was never going to be a quick game because the pitch was horrible. It was a surface the players couldn’t really trust. It was very difficult to play football very fluently. “
AEK Manager Massimo Carrera: “Considering the performance of the guys, feelings are mixed. It’s a bit bitter. In the first half we were a bit reserved and in the second we were very decisive.
“What we need to do is work hard on the right spots and improve.
“In life and in football, you can’t turn things around and go back in time. We were playing well in the second half so there was no need to change anything. “
- 2BakakisReplaced byVasilantonopoulosat 86 ‘minutes
- 22Insúa ZapataBooked at 73 minutesReplaced byMacherasat 86 ‘minutes
- 28ShakhovReplaced bySabanadzovicat 86 ‘minutes
- 6KrsticicBooked at 59 minutes
- dixLivajaReplaced byTankovicat 45 ‘minutes
- 20MantalosBooked at 21 minutes
- 3Oliveira Lopes
- 11AnsarifardReplaced byOliveiraat 45 ‘minutes
- 28FuchsReplaced byThomasat 45 ‘minutesBooked at 78 minutes
- 20ChoudhuryReplaced byMendyat 66 ‘minutes
- 19BelowReplaced byPraetat 66 ‘minutes
- dixMaddisonReplaced byBarnesat 74 ‘minutes
- 9VardyReplaced byIheanachoat 70 ‘minutes
Match Ends, AEK Athens 1, Leicester City 2.
Second Half ends, AEK Athens 1, Leicester City 2.
Foul by Anel Sabanadzovic (AEK Athens).
Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Petros Mantalos (AEK Athens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Faute de Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City).
Corner, Leicester City. Corner, Greece.Conceded by Nenad Krsticic.
Substitution, AEK Athens. Anel Sabanadzovic replaces Yevhen Shakhov.
Substitution, AEK Athens. Stavros Vasilantonopoulos replaces Michalis Bakakis.
Substitution, AEK Athens. Theodosis Macheras replaces Emanuel Mariano Insúa Zapata.
Efstratios Svarnas (AEK Athens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dennis Praet (Leicester City).
Attempt saved. Hélder Lopes (AEK Athens) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the lower left corner.
Offside, Leicester City. Luke Thomas tries a through ball, but Kelechi Iheanacho is caught offside.
Luke Thomas (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Michalis Bakakis (AEK Athens) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Luke Thomas (Leicester City) fouls.
Foul by Wes Morgan (Leicester City).
Nélson Oliveira (AEK Athens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Remplacement, Leicester City. Harvey Barnes remplace James Maddison.