Iversen’s shootout heroics save Leicester from shock at Stockport

Daniel Iversen’s debutant heroics provided Brendan Rodgers some light relief from the Wesley Fofana transfer saga, as Leicester scraped through in the Carabao Cup second round against League Two Stockport on penalties.

Iversen had enjoyed a quiet game thanks to Leicester’s dominance but he showed what he could do when it mattered, saving three-quarters of Stockport’s penalties before Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall completed the job. It was cruel on Stockport but they will be hoping this could kickstart their season, too, after a sluggish start on their return to the Football League.

Ninety minutes and a tense shootout might have been a welcomed distraction from Leicester’s transfer activity. Fofana was again absent from the squad. A £70m offer from Chelsea was rejected on Tuesday and the defender is currently training with the club’s Under-23 team.

“He didn’t turn up for training one day last week,” Rodgers said. “You need full commitment from players, they are well paid and the very least you can do is turn up. You can’t then expect to walk into our group. It’s been hard for him to deal with and while he is in that frame of mind, it is difficult for him to play.”

The last time these two sides met at Edgeley Park was in 2008 in League One. Since then Stockport were relegated to play regional football and Leicester have won the Premier League. Their recent past has been less dramatic, starting the night with one win between them in eight league games this season, a sign of their struggles.

Rodgers made 10 changes from the weekend defeat to Southampton, hopeful to find someone worthy of making an impact in the league, including Iversen, who he believes can challenge Danny Ward for the No 1 spot. “I am so happy for him, all the guys were very thankful for him at the end and his three great saves. He’s an accomplished goalkeeper,” Rodgers said. “He’s come back after four years on loan and he is ready to fight for his first-team place.”

A weakened Stockport lineup spent the opening stages doing their best to contain Leicester, and barely left their own half as a result. Being compact was successful for Stockport, limiting Leicester to three shots from distance that did not require intervention from the goalkeeper.

After enjoying 80 per cent possession in the first half without posing too many problems, Leicester were more aggressive and increased the tempo at the break aided by James Maddison’s arrival. The greater speed in attacks meant Stockport had to work hard to keep Rodgers’s side at bay but they coped under the pressure.

Substitutions brought impetus to Leicester against a team starting to tire after spending most of the first hour defending but the match was destined for a shootout.

Iversen dived to his right to repel the well-struck penalties of Antoni Sarcevic, Scott Quigley and Kyle Wootton before Dewsbury-Hall fired the decisive spot-kick in off the post for Leicester’s first win of the season and finally end Stockport’s resistance.

“A brilliant night with the dream ending but really proud of the effort we put in,” Stockport manager Dave Challinor said. “Taking a Premier League side to penalties is a great achievement, just a pity we could not make it an amazing night rather than a really good one.”