- Associated Press - Saturday, August 8, 2015

LEICESTER, England (AP) - Leicester opened its Premier League season with three goals in the first 25 minutes, beating Sunderland 4-2 Saturday.

Jamie Vardy struck first after 11 minutes with a header to the bottom right corner and Riyad Mahrez scored in the 18th and from the penalty spot in the 25th.

Former Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri made a triumphant return to the league as Leicester continued its strong finish from last season when it managed to avoid relegation.

Jermain Defoe pulled one back at the King Power Stadium but Marc Albrighton ended the match with the Foxes’ fourth, even though Steven Fletcher grabbed a second for the Black Cats to make it 4-2.

The win gave Ranieri, who replaced Nigel Pearson in the summer, his first win in charge of his first Premier League game in 11 years.



Ranieri had challenged Vardy to score more goals after he netted five last season and the forward responded instantly when he glanced Albrighton’s free kick across goal and Sunderland allowed it to bounce in off the woodwork.

Mahrez saw a shot deflect wide but eventually doubled Leicester’s lead when he powered in a 12-yard header from Albrighton’s cross.

And seven minutes later he made it 3-0 when, after being brought down in the area by Lee Cattermole, the Algerian international sent Costel Pantilimon the wrong way from the spot.

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat responded by replacing Cattermole with Fletcher but the game was already lost.

The visitors pulled a goal back against the run of play on 60 minutes when Adam Johnson slipped Defoe in to fire into the corner from 10 yards.

Albrighton made it 4-1 with 25 minutes left, drilling in from the edge of the area.

The goal rush continued five minutes later, though, when Fletcher made it 4-2, heading into an empty net after Defoe lobbed Kasper Schmeichel.

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