Patson Daka scores four – including a nine-minute hat-trick – as Leicester come from behind to stun Spartak Moscow

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Patson Daka of Leicester City celebrates after scoring to make it 2-3 during the UEFA Europa League group C match between Spartak Moscow and Leicester City at Otkritie Bank - GETTY IMAGES
Patson Daka of Leicester City celebrates after scoring to make it 2-3 during the UEFA Europa League group C match between Spartak Moscow and Leicester City at Otkritie Bank - GETTY IMAGES

Patson Daka was signed this summer as a potential successor to Jamie Vardy and his stunning four-goal haul has sparked Leicester’s Europa League campaign back into life.

Daka displayed the predatory instincts of Leicester’s legendary forward with four clinical strikes, including a hat-trick in the space of nine minutes, to become the joint-leading scorer in European history for his new club.

Signed for £20 million from Red Bull Salzburg in June, Daka has had to be patient but this was an outstanding individual performance which helped complete a remarkable turnaround in the Russian capital city.

Leicester had conceded twice in the first-half after some abysmal defending to leave their hopes of progress hanging by a thread, until the Zambian international took centre stage.

What an amazing experience this will have been for Daka, who scored his first Leicester goal in the demolition of Manchester United last Saturday.

“It’s the first time I’ve scored four goals before and I hope it’s not the last time,” said Daka. “It’s been an amazing few days for me and the team, I’m just happy I was able to help. Jamie is an inspiration with my playing style and helps me a lot in training.

“My goals may look easy but you need total concentration. I know my strengths and the qualities of the team.

“There’s nothing to hate about Leicester, the people are great, the team and atmosphere is good and I’m loving my time here.

“I just look forward to improving every game because I’ve got a lot of things I have to improve on. I’ll keep working hard so I can score as many goals as possible.”

Leicester’s first victory in Group C lifted them into second place, ahead of two crucial home matches, and continued their upward momentum after a worrying start to the season.

The international break is usually a time detested by most Premier League managers but since reassessing his team earlier this month, Brendan Rodgers has secured victories over United and Spartak.

Daka’s display was a huge positive, and further evidence of another excellent find by Leicester’s recruitment team.

Rodgers said: “To score four goals in any game of football is so difficult but to do it in an away game in Europe is a special achievement.

“It was a great moment for Patson and he’s a natural goalscorer like Jamie. He’s not stopped smiling since he came in and he has a wonderful enthusiasm for the game.

“This was a great victory for us in so many ways and it tells you about the spirit and mentality of the team that we’re never broken.”

After starting the campaign with a draw and defeat, this was a must-win match for Leicester and it all looked gloomy after a nightmare start.

Spartak had secured a surprise win in their last group game at Napoli, one of the favourites to win the competition, so this was always likely to be a tricky test.

Leicester did start well but fell behind in the 11th minute after Aleksandr Sobolev squeezed a 20-yard shot inside the near post, with the ball taking a huge deflection off Boubakary Soumare.

Despite the visitors dominating possession, Spartak were ruthless in front of goal and increased their lead a minute before half-time.

Caglar Soyuncu was pressed out of possession by Victor Moses and the former Chelsea winger picked out Jordan Larsson, the son of Celtic legend Henrik, who produced a simple finish.

Game over? No chance. Daka was released by Kelechi Iheanacho 60 seconds later and the forward beat Aleksandr Maksimenko with ease to set himself on the way for a memorable evening.

Daka then equalised in the 48th minute from close range, again delivering the finish to a fine Iheanacho pass.

He then completed his hat-trick with another cool finish, breaking the Spartak offside trap after Youri Tielemans’s brilliant through ball.

The 23 year-old was not finished and added a fourth goal 12 minutes from the end, running onto James Maddison’s pass and finding the corner.

Spartak did respond with another goal from Sobolev, in the 86th minute, but nothing was going to damage Daka’s day.

For the 25 Leicester fans who made the trip, it was well worth it.

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