LEICESTER, September 21- Louis van Gaal’s difficult start to his time as Manchester United manager continued as Leicester City sensationally came back from 3-1 down to win 5-3 in a remarkable Premier League encounter on Sunday.
The visitors were on course to give the Dutchman his first away victory and second league win as United manager following last week’s 4-0 thrashing of QPR, another newly-promoted side, at Old Trafford.
Goals from Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera had United winning by two goals after an hour.
But David Nugent’s controversial penalty sparked a late revival by the Foxes.
Further Leicester goals from Esteban Cambiasso, Jamie Vardy and another penalty, this time from Leonardo Ulloa, his second goal of the game after a first-half effort, exposed the defensive weakness of a United side who had Tyler Blackett sent off in the incident that led to Ulloa’s successful spot-kick.
Both sides matched each other up with a diamond midfield system. Wayne Rooney was in the hole for United with Radamel Falcao making his first start for the club further forward alongside van Persie.
Leicester had Nugent just behind Ulloa and Vardy, who made his first Premier League start.
United took the lead in the 13th minute, Falcao turning Ritchie de Laet down the left before crossing for van Persie who headed in via a deflection off Liam Moore.
Three minutes later came a moment of magic from Argentina winger di Maria.
United’s British record £59.7 million ($98 million, 75 million euros) signing from Real Madrid collected Rooney’s pass before unleashing a delightful chip from 15 yards that left Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel — son of United shot-stopping great Peter — stranded and revived memories of Karel Poborsky’s scooped effort for the Czech Republic against Portugal at Euro 96.
However, Leicester were back in the game just 40 seconds later as Vardy’s pace allowed him to just about keep the ball in play before crossing for Ulloa who produced an outstanding header to make it 2-1.
Leicester repeatedly threatened United’s defence especially when Jonny Evans was forced off with a foot injury.
But it was United who created the better chances.
Early in the second half, they could have scored again as Falcao shot against the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the area.
– Penalty turning point –
They did, though, go 3-1 up in the 57th minute when Herrera cheekily flicked in di Maria’s effort from just inside the area to leave Schmeichel wrong-footed.
That should have been game over but Leicester were always likely to trouble United at the back with their all-round attacking threat and they were back in the match in the 62nd minute.
Vardy appeared to barge Rafael outside the box but referee Mark Clattenburg let play continue only to blow for a penalty when, with roles reversed, the United full-back made far less contact with Vardy inside the area.
Nugent made no mistake, blasting down the middle past diving United keeper David de Gea.
Quite incredibly Leicester were level two minutes later.
Rooney conceded the ball to Dean Hammond in a dangerous position and his shot was blocked by Vardy only for Cambiasso to fire home his first goal in England.
United’s defence were nearly caught out again as de Laet charged forward from right back and beat di Maria before finding sub Andy King who stabbed his shot just wide.
More poor defending from the visitors then saw Vardy score a deserved first goal of the season.
United substitute Juan Mata lost the ball to de Laet whose long ball picked out the former non-league striker, who made no mistake from the one-on-one position to bring the King Power Stadium its feet.
It was to get even worse for United as Vardy’s express pace took him past the United defence again four minutes later with Blackett bringing him down.
The United youngster was red-carded with Ulloa scoring the penalty for his fifth goal in five Leicester games to round off an incredible match.