RIYAD MAHREZ looked anything but unhappy as he provided the platform for Leicester’s first win of the season.
Shinji Okazaki and Harry Maguire’s first Leicester goal wrapped up the points – with both made by Mahrez.
The Algerian wideman submitted a transfer request in May saying he was “fiercely ambitious” and it was “time to move on”.
But the only bids have come in from Roma – and all of them have been rejected with Leicester chiefs valuing him at £50million.
You might think that Mahrez’s mind would be elsewhere now that the Foxes’ season is well underway.
Not a bit of it. Mahrez ran the show against a Brighton side who will definitely need time to get up to Premier League speed.
The Leicester ace made both of his side’s opening goals – the first one coming after just 52 seconds through Okazaki’s second of the season.
Mahrez was toying with Brighton at times. And although Chris Hughton’s side gave Leicester a couple of scarea through striker Glenn Murray, there was only one winner here.
Leicester were without injured £25million man Kelechi Iheanacho, who has a toe injury – but they started as they meant to go on and when Mahrez ghosted in from the right and delayed his shot to maximum effect, it proved too hot for Seagulls keeper Mat Ryan to handle.
He spilled the ball and Okazaki needed no second invitation to pounce and open the scoring.
Leicester should have had more before the break with Jamie Vardy’s first effort blocked by Shane Duffy before the England striker’s air shot left him punching himself in the face in frustration.
The chance came from a slip by full-back Markus Suttner, who was given a torrid time.
Vardy then provided a superb ball for Okazaki who poked his shot wide at the near post.
Murray fired a warning to the Foxes when he volleyed home but was ruled offside.
And Okazaki was on the end of a bizarre challenge from Duffy who climbed all over the Japan forward and planted his knee in the back of his head – and Brighton were awarded the free kick.
But Leicester sealed the points 10 minutes after the break when Mahrez’s corner was met by summer signing Harry Maguire who headed home.
Former Leicester player Anthony Knockaert came as a sub to standing ovation from the home crowd.
And Brighton almost pulled one back when Kasper Schmeichel had to keep a Tomer Hemed shot out at full stretch.
There was an injury scare for Leicester in the dying minutes when Vardy had to come off with an ankle injury after a challenge with Brighton keeper Ryan.
INTERACTIVE STATS – CLICK on the categories to find out how the teams fared
INTERACTIVE LINE-UPS– CLICK on a player’s number below to see their stats
FACTS, STATS, GOALS AND LOLS
- Brighton won both matches when the two teams last met in the 2013/14 Championship season which saw Leicester run out as champions
- Leicester are now unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League home fixtures against newly-promoted sides, winning eight and drawing five since a 0-5 loss to Bolton in August 2001
- Craig Shakespeare has now won eight Premier League home games since replacing Claudio Ranieri last season
- Andy King scored the winner the last time Leicester beat Brighton at home in October 2012 when both teams were in the Championship, but he failed to start on this occasion.
- Harry Maguire fired home only his third-ever goal in the top flight, scoring twice for Hull in the last campaign
- Shinji Okazaki is now just one goal behind his tally for the whole of last season after netting twice in two games
WHAT THEY SAID
Leicester goal scorer Harry Maguire: “It couldn’t have gone much better for me but it’s great for the team to get a win on the board. We were on the front foot from the start.”
Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare: “We’ve got to be strong at home so it’s important to start with a win here. Jamie Vardy took a knock on his ankle but he sounds OK.”
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
Leicester: Schmeichel 7, Simpson 7, Morgan 7, Maguire 8, Fuchs 7, Mahrez 8, Ndidi 7, James 6, Albrighton 6, Okazaki 7 (Slimani 6), Vardy 7 (Gray 6)
Subs not used: Chilwell, King, Hamer, Amartey, Ulloa
Goals: Okazaki 1’, Maguire 54’
Brighton: Ryan 6, Bruno 6, Duffy 6, Dunk 6, Suttner 5, March 6, Stephens 6, Propper 6, Murphy 6, Gross 5 (Knockaert 6), Murray 5 (Hemed 6)
Subs not used: Bong, Hunemeier, Skalak, Maenpaa, Rosenior
Star Man: Riyad Mahrez