LONDON (AFP) – Leicester paid an emotional tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as the grief-stricken club won 1-0 at Cardiff following their owner’s tragic death, while Alexandre Lacazette’s late equaliser gave Arsenal a 1-1 draw against new Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday (Nov 3).
Thai billionaire Vichai was among five people killed when his helicopter crashed outside Leicester’s King Power Stadium last weekend.
With Vichai’s funeral under way on Saturday in Bangkok, Leicester headed to Cardiff for a match that served as a chance to honour their late owner and begin the healing process.
While results have been rendered irrelevant by the crash, it was fitting that Leicester took the points in their first match since Vichai’s death, thanks to Demarai Gray’s second-half winner at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel felt the tragedy more than most as he witnessed the immediate aftermath of the crash moments after the helicopter went down.
“I feel proud. It’s been a really tough week for everyone. The way everyone at the club handles themselves is a testament to the family Vichai built,” Schmeichel said.
“That took a lot. It has been an emotional day. I’m glad we got three points for him.
“I can’t imagine what his family are going through. We did it for him and his family.”
Leicester’s players had worn white t-shirts bearing Vichai’s image and the words “The Boss” on the front of them during the pre-match warm-up.
A minute’s silence was impeccably observed, with a wreath laid on the pitch and images of Vichai shown on the scoreboards behind either goal.
Leicester’s players and staff linked arms on the centre circle to pay tribute during a poignant silence that left Schmeichel in tears.
Claude Puel’s team, playing with poise and desire despite their traumatic week, finally had a cathartic moment in the 55th minute.
A superb cross from Ben Chilwell was finished off by Gray, who celebrated by lifting his shirt to reveal a message that read “For Vichai”.
It earned Gray a booking from referee Lee Probert in a move that followed the letter of the law, but showed little common sense given the circumstances.
Leicester’s players huddled together in celebration at full-time, with many of them due to fly to Thailand to join Vichai’s funeral immediately after the game.
On any other weekend, the showdown between revitalised Arsenal and title-chasing Liverpool would have hogged the spotlight which instead shone on Leicester.
The Emirates Stadium clash proved a classic encounter as Arsenal showed they are capable of going toe to toe with the top four after years of underachievement.
Unai Emery’s side fell behind to James Milner’s clinical finish after Bernd Leno pushed out Sadio Mane’s cross in the 61st minute.
But fifth placed Arsenal extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 games as French striker Lacazette smashed home from a tight angle in the 82nd minute.
“I am only 50 per cent happy because we wanted to win. The balance was good in our speed and intensity. Maybe we deserve a little more,” Emery said.
Liverpool, unbeaten in their 11 league games this season, move one point above Manchester City, who would reclaim top spot if they avoid defeat against Southampton on Sunday.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp added: “They had a few chances for sure. They are in a good moment.
“We deserved a point and we could have had more. We had clear chances.”
At Dean Court, Marcus Rashford’s close-range finish in stoppage-time helped Manchester United hit back to win 2-1.
Callum Wilson’s 11th-minute opener for Bournemouth was cancelled out by Anthony Martial’s 35th-minute effort as United survived a series of missed chances from the hosts.
It was United’s third victory in their last four league games, but boss Jose Mourinho was furious with his side’s latest sloppy start.
“We were defensively awful. The first half was a disaster. The second half was much better,” Mourinho said.
Tottenham climbed to fourth place with a thrilling 3-2 win at Wolves.
Erik Lamela put Tottenham ahead in the 27th minute, Lucas Moura doubled their lead three minutes later and Harry Kane notched the third in the 62nd minute.
There was a tense finish as Wolves’ Ruben Neves scored a 68th minute penalty before team-mate Raul Jimenez netted with another spot-kick in the 79th minute.
Newcastle earned their first league win this season with a 1-0 success against Watford at St James’ Park.
Everton beat Brighton 3-1 and West Ham won 4-2 against Burnley.
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