Cambridge United put in an admirable performance against Leicester City, with the Premier League side’s quality telling in the end as they ran out 0-3 winners at the Abbey Stadium.
The U’s faced a challenging task with Brendan Rodgers selecting a virtually full strength Foxes’ side on a sweltering evening at the Abbey, but they held out for an hour before second half goals from Harry Maguire, Kelechi Iheanacho and Hamza Choudhury saw the Foxes claim the win.
A pair of early saves from Dimitar Mitov kept Leicester at bay, with the Bulgarian first getting a strong palm to Youri Tielemans near post effort and then tipped Jamie Vardy's flash shot across goal onto the post minutes later.
The U’s keeper’s strong first half continued when he spread himself in Schmeichel fashion with the Dane tending goal at the other end of the field, to deny Ricardo Pereira before Andy King hammered the rebound against the post and United cleared the danger.
Mark Albrighton was the next Foxes player to be denied by Mitov, when the winger cut inside across the U’s 18 yard box and saw his drilled shot stopped by the outstretched right glove of the U’s shot stopper.
In fact despite the visitors dominating possession of the ball for the majority of the first 45 minutes, when Mitov watched a dipping Tielemans shot from mid-range closely enough to get both hands on the attempt and parry it wide shortly before half time, United found themselves level at the break.
The U’s made five changes at half time which included the introduction of Hoolahan, Maris, Ward, Lambe and Jones, whilst the visitors only increased their quality further when Rodgers added James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Hamza Choudhury to proceedings.
Barnes immediately came close with a pair of opportunities but on both occasions Dan Jones then Mitov did enough to divert what looked to be an opening goal for the Foxes away from United’s target.
However, United’s defence was eventually broken just short of the hour mark with a trademark header from Harry Maguire at the back post, who climbed above Taft before powering past Mitov from close range.
Iheanacho hared onto a loose back pass ten minutes later but couldn’t squeeze the ball into United’s net when Mitov did well to close down the angle quickly, as he did once again shortly to stop Harvey Barnes sliding a shot a past him.
Iheanacho then produced a header of perhaps even better quality than Maguire’s opening goal to direct the ball beyond Mitov and inside the post to double the lead from Barnes’ inswinging cross from the left.
The former Man City man nearly scored a second of the game but his shot from 20 yards which had the beating of Mitov crashed against the foot of the post and away from goal with ten minutes left to play.
Hamza Choudhury wrapped up the game for the Foxes when the second half substitute intercepted a poor pass back inside the United area and finished with ease with the inside of his right foot in the final minutes of the match.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Knoyle (Darling, 70 mins), Taft, O’Neil (Trialist, 70 mins), Hannant (Knowles, 70 mins), Dunk (Jones, 45 mins), Ibehre (Hoolahan, 45mins), John (Ward, 45 min), Davies (Lambe, 45 mins), Trailist, Lewis (Maris, 45 mins)
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Chilwell (Fuchs, 60 mins), Evans (Soyuncu, 18 mins), Gray (Barnes, 45 mins), Tielemans (Silva, 60 mins), Vardy (Iheanacho, 60 mins), Albrighton (Ghezzal, 60 mins), Maguire (Morgan, 60 mins), Ricardo (Justin, 60 min), Mendy (Maddison, 45 mins), King
Attendance: 4,555 (1,254)