Leicester City’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers (C) on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on March 3, 2019. Watford won the game 2-1.OLLY GREENWOOD / AFP
Agence France-Presse

Brendan Rodgers’s first match as Leicester boss ended in a dramatic defeat as Andre Gray scored in stoppage time to give Watford a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road.

Rodgers left Scottish champions Celtic to take charge of the Foxes on Tuesday after winning seven domestic trophies north of the border.

But the former Liverpool boss was given a tough welcome back to the Premier League when substitute Gray pounced on Troy Deeney’s fine through ball.

The Hornets had taken an early lead when Deeney flicked home Gerard Deulofeu’s free-kick and looked set for all three points as Leicester laboured despite dominating possession.

One incisive Youri Tielemans pass, though, undid the Watford defence and Jamie Vardy prodded home his 10th goal of the season 15 minutes from time.

Leicester even had a chance to take all three points when captain Wes Morgan headed wide.

Instead, they were hit by a sucker punch when Gray brilliantly controlled Deeney’s lofted pass and kept his cool to fire low past Kasper Schmeichel to spark contrasting reactions in the dugouts.

A delighted Javi Gracia saw his side move level on points with Wolves in seventh for what could be a Europa League place depending on who wins the FA Cup.

Leicester by contrast remain 11th, eight points further back, and with plenty of work to do if they are to match Rodgers’s ambition of a European place.

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