The Foxes needed something, anything to cling to with the club spiraling towards obscurity. Substitute Wilfred Ndidi provided that something.
The 20-year-old Nigerian ripped off a sensational strike in the first-half of extra time to give Leicester City a 3-1 win over Derby County on their fourth round replay to put Leicester through as the final team into the Round of 16. Demarai Gray finished it off in the second half of extra time to put Claudio Ranieri through for sure.
Leicester had a big chance just after the half-hour mark as Gray sent in a perfect cross for Ahmed Musa who had broken free in front of net, but the striker only managed an ugly whiff as the ball trickled harmlessly across the face of goal.
The Foxes had the breakthrough just ticks after the halftime break, as a brilliant looping cross by Gray reached the far post, and with Derby goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell out to challenge for the ball, Marc Albrighton headed it back to Andy King sitting in front of goal, and he poked home the simplest headed goal of his career.
Derby would hit back though, to equalize just before the hour mark. A free-kick from just outside the top of the box by Abdoul Camara took a massive deflection off the knee of Ben Chilwell and slid past a wrong-footed Ron-Robert Zieler into the back of the net.
The visitors looked to have unlocked the Leicester defense in search of the lead in the 69th minute, but Cyrus Christie’s dangerous cross was just behind Matej Vydra, and the Czech striker’s scorpion kick attempt missed the ball and instead struck Yohan Benaloune in the face.
Leicester would feel aggrieved as they appeared to have a winning moment in the 83rd minute after a long ball caught an indecisive Mitchell in no-man’s land, and outside his box, the ball popped up and hit his hand, but referee Mike Jones was unmoved, refusing to send Mitchell off, instead yellow carding Musa for his protests. Derby was again lucky five minutes later as left-back Max Lowe looked to turn a cross behind for a corner and clanged it off his own post.
In extra time, the winning moment came in the 95th minute as Ndidi collected a pass, burst down the middle through the Derby third, and ripped off a shot from 30 yards out that clanged the right post and deflected in, a perfectly placed strike that left Mitchell with no chance. Leicester’s third came on a blistering run from Gray, beating both Richard Keough and Nick Blackman on the dribble and smashing it home.
Leicester City will take on Millwall on Saturday, February 18 in the FA Cup Round of 16.