One of the games to look out for the pre-season, the champions of England and Spain went head to head in what at times looked like a one-sided affair.
However, Leicester City showed commendable resolve to go toe-to-toe with Barcelona in the International Champions Cup after going down 3-0, though the club eventually fell to a 4-2 loss in Stockholm.
The Premier League champions, gearing up for their first Champions League campaign, had been thrashed 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in California on Sunday and needed a much-improved second-half showing to avoid a similar outcome on Wednesday.
Claudio Ranieri’s men found Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in fine form in the first half, teeing up a brace for Munir either side of the former Liverpool forward’s fine individual effort.
Ahmed Musa was introduced at the break and crafted two excellent goals to inspire an impressive Leicester response, as new signing Bartosz Kapustka debuted, but Rafa Mujica’s late stunner finished them off.
While Barca made just the one change from its win against Celtic, there were seven alterations to Ranieri’s side following that PSG reverse, notably providing Jamie Vardy with his first action of the preseason.
A hectic start saw Suarez, Demarai Gray and Munir all waste openings, but, given another chance by Messi’s stunning pass, the latter tucked a finish under Ron-Robert Zieler to give the Liga outfit a 26th-minute lead.
The Leicester goalkeeper thwarted Suarez for the next chance, but he could do little when the Uruguayan bounced past Robert Huth and Ben Chilwell to poke a second into the roof of the net.
And as the English side looked to respond, Munir appeared to have killed them off on the verge of halftime. The goal owed much to Suarez, whose glorious lifted pass found his teammate’s toe for a simple prod.
Having been undone by ruthless attacking play in the first half, Leicester responded with some of its own. Within minutes of the restart, Shinji Okazaki played Musa through to race away and score.
The industrious Nigerian was not finished there either, pressuring the Barca backline into an error, then collecting Jeffrey Schlupp’s center to unleash an unstoppable blast.
However, Mujica swept a finish high into the corner in the 84th minute to thwart hopes of a fightback.
The way Leicester fought back reminded of the passion with which they awed all last season. However it won’t be a fairytale going into the new season with a host of reputed managers and players moving into other clubs whereas Kante, arguably the most in-form player of the Premier League last term switching to Chelsea.
On the other hand, Barca grow ever stronger with sensible signings this term and the new players are expected to feature in the upcoming matches. However, their defense still look suspect and players like Mathieu and Douglas should be sold off to raise funds for getting a proper back-up for MSN upfront.
Leicester can now look forward to the Community Shield final against Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday, while Barca plays Liverpool at the same stadium the day before.
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