International Champions Cup


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Celtic FC
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Glasgow, Scotland
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Leicester City FC

By Gill Clark

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The Italian says it will be a good experience for his side to play at Parkhead ahead of matches with PSG, Barcelona and Man Utd as they prepare to defend their league title.

Premier League champions Leicester City kick off their International Champions Cup against Celtic with Claudio Ranieri admitting it is a lot different to last season.

The Foxes face the Scottish champions before prestigious friendlies against Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and then Manchester United in the Community Shield.

Leicester began their preparations with a win over Oxford on Tuesday and Ranieri says he is looking forward to the glamour ties to come.

“It's a different pre-season for us," he admitted. "Last season, all of our games were very close and this year we are all over the world.

“We play tomorrow against Celtic, and then against PSG in Los Angeles and then Barcelona in Stockholm – we hope we are ready to compete against Manchester United.

"It's very good for experience. We have some players that have not experienced international football before, so this is good for them.

“Celtic are ahead of us. They’ve already played in the Champions League and it’ll be very good for us to increase our fitness and stamina.”

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Ranieri’s four summer signings Ahmed Musa, Nampalys Mendy, Ron-Robert Zieler and Luis Hernandez – are all in the squad to face Celtic while Marc Albrighton and Papy Mendy, who missed the game against Oxford, are also fit after training while Christian Fuchs should also feature.

Striker Jamie Vardy and Andy King will not join up with the squad until they arrive in Los Angeles for their clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Celtic, meanwhile, have already been in Champions League qualifying action, going through 3-1 despite an embarrassing first-leg defeat to Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar.

The Hoops face Astana next and fly out to Kazakhstan on Monday and Brendan Rodgers is likely to rest some players ahead of that clash, with assistant manager Chris Davies full of praise for Saturday's opponents.

“It’s the Scottish champions versus the English champions, and we know they’re a team who produced a sporting miracle last year – I think we’re all agreed on that,” he told reporters.

“Everyone can take inspiration – in sport they’re the team who defied all the odds and went on to victory after a long hard season. I was one of the doubters who was expecting, even right up to about four or five games to go, that they might slip but they didn’t and everyone can take inspiration from it.

“The message is, with organisation, selflessness, team spirit and quality, then you can achieve a lot. But they’ve got some really good players as well, so credit to them.”

ICC 2016 Match Recap: Celtic 1-1 Leicester Ctiy (Pens 5:6) powered by Bleacher report logo full

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The Foxes came out on top after 90 minutes, with Riyad Mahrez scoring a brilliant goal for the Premier League champions prior to Daniel Amartey's winning spot-kick.

Riyad Mahrez gave a reminder of his importance to Leicester City with a stunning solo goal in their 1-1 International Champions Cup draw with Celtic on Saturday.

The Algeria international has again been heavily linked with Arsenal in recent days, with some reports claiming a deal worth £41 million has already been agreed between the Gunners and the Premier League champions.

Mahrez, the PFA players' and fans' player of the year last season, lit up Celtic Park early in the second half to underline why such huge figures are being touted, skipping beyond two defenders before bending a stunning shot beyond Craig Gordon.

But Celtic, who matched Claudio Ranieri's side well throughout, found an equaliser when Eoghan O'Connell fired in off the post from the edge of the area.

Brendan Rodgers' side finished the stronger but were unable to find a second goal, and Leicester snatched a 6-5 victory on penalties, Daniel Amartey converting after Kasper Schmeichel had denied James Forrest. Celtic looked bright in the opening 20 minutes and twice called Ron-Robert Zieler into action, with the Germany international denying Leigh Griffiths from close range before reacting well to keep out Moussa Dembele's effort.

Mahrez was a whisker away from breaking the deadlock on 24 minutes, though, skipping infield before bending a shot narrowly past the far post after bringing down Danny Drinkwater's raking long pass.

Ben Chilwell headed straight at Gordon after a glorious cross-field pass from Mahrez, before Zieler was again called into action to deny Griffiths from a free-kick.

Just over a minute into the second half, Mahrez made his mark. Driving into the area from the right, he bamboozled O'Connell and Emilio Izaguirre with quick stepovers and a sharp turn onto his left foot, before curling a sumptuous finish into the far corner.

O'Connell took matters into his own hands to restore parity on 59 minutes. As the ball broke loose on the edge of the area, the full-back instructed team-mates to stand aside before sweeping a low right-footed shot in off substitute Schmeichel's left-hand post.

Mahrez almost set up substitute Ahmed Musa for a winner, driving to the byline before crossing just behind Leicester's record signing, before he was taken off to applause from both sets of fans as Ranieri and Rodgers rang the changes.

Neither side could carve out a match-winning opportunity in the closing minutes, leaving a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner. Forrest saw his effort saved as Schmeichel dived well to his left, allowing Amartey to shoot high into the net to secure the win.