LONDON (AP) — Raheem Sterling’s first goals for Chelsea gave the 10-man Blues a 2-1 victory over winless Leicester in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Sterling’s second half double proved decisive at Stamford Bridge as the hosts overcame the early sending off of England midfielder Conor Gallagher.
Manager Thomas Tuchel was also absent as he was serving a touchline ban following his confrontation with Antonio Conte in the opening home match against Tottenham, while Gallagher was dismissed in the 28th minute after getting two yellow cards.
Chelsea was awarded an early penalty when Ruben Loftus-Cheek went down in the box, but referee Paul Tierney overturned his decision after Kai Havertz was adjudged to have been offside in the buildup.
Seven minutes before the break, the visitors thought they took the lead when Harvey Barnes headed home, but the effort was ruled out for a foul on Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
The hosts came close to breaking the deadlock four minutes later when Reece James struck the post with an effort from Sterling’s cross, then Jamie Vardy shot wide at the other end after good work by Youri Tielemans.
A little more than a minute after the restart, Sterling broke the deadlock with a shot from the edge of the area, after being found by Marc Cucurella.
The Blues, who introduced Cesar Azpilicueta at halftime, went from four at the back to three and looked more threatening.
They doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when Sterling tapped in James’ cross at the far post. However, the Foxes pulled one back three minutes later when Barnes beat Mendy at his near post.
Vardy fired a shot into the side-netting and Ayoze Perez came close as the visitors sought an equalizer. However, Chelsea held on for its first home win.
Leicester defender Wesley Fofana was left out of Brendan Rodgers’ squad amid reports he is close to finalizing a transfer to Chelsea.