OXFORD United gave the Premier League champions a fright before Leicester City came back to win a competitive friendly at the Kassam Stadium.

For a quarter of an hour on a hot night Michael Appleton’s side led their illustrious visitors, following Chris Maguire’s inch-perfect free-kick.

Even though Demarai Gray equalised, it still took until midway through the second half for the Foxes to get ahead for the first time, via Jeffrey Schlupp.

United may have lost the game, but they should take plenty of confidence for their display – going toe-to-toe with a strong line-up.

And with Leicester waiving their share of the gate receipts, the 9,487 attendance ensured it was also a good night off the pitch for the Sky Bet League One newcomers.

Claudio Ranieri received a warm welcome from both sets of fans when he got off the bus at the Kassam Stadium – and the Italian fulfilled his promise to bring a strong side.

With the exception of players who had featured at Euro 2016, including Jamie Vardy, the Premier League champions fielded their big names.

Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Wes Morgan and Kasper Schmeichel were all named in the starting XI, while £16m record signing Ahmed Musa was on the bench.

The big names were also in the stands – with Gary Lineker parading the Premier League trophy before kick-off, adding to the feeling this was not a typical pre-season game.

United might have been star-struck, because they were chasing shadows early on as the Foxes won four corners in the first eight minutes.

But to the delight of the majority in the big crowd, the hosts opened the scoring.

Ryan Taylor was fouled by Wes Morgan 23 yards out, from where Maguire picked out the corner of the net despite Schmeichel flying full stretch to his left.

The Scot had hit the woodwork several times from set pieces last season and there was a definite sense of relief in his celebration.

Oxford Mail:

  • Chris Maguire (No 10) is mobbed after opening the scoring

Suddenly the U’s had space to play in and started to grow into the game.

On 27 minutes they should have doubled the lead, but Wes Thomas could not keep his header down at the end of an excellent move.

Within 60 seconds it was punished.

United made a mess of a throw deep in their territory and the ball was worked to Gray, who swept a shot in off Simon Eastwood’s right-hand post from 20 yards.

City went on to have the better chances up to half-time, with Leo Ulloa twice narrowly missing the target.

And the top-flight side, whose other pre-season opponents include Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, started the second half brightly.

It took an excellent block from Eastwood to keep out a Shinji Okazaki, while only a last-ditch block from substitute Aaron Martin denied Shlupp a fine goal.

United were hanging on, but around the hour mark the game began to open up again.

Thomas claimed his shot hit a hand in the box, before a promising move ended when Ribeiro was unable to pick out a teammate in the box.

Oxford Mail:

  • Gary Lineker paraded the Premier League trophy before kick-off

Leicester changed their entire XI in the opening 15 minutes of the second half and one of the substitutes finally broke the hosts’ resistance.

A loose pass from Joe Rothwell inadvertently launched a counter-attack and Schlupp arrowed a low shot past a diving Eastwood from just outside the box.

United immediately carved out a good chance to equalise, but Taylor’s shot lacked power after John Lundstram had freed Joe Skarz to cross.

It was their last real sight of goal before the game petered out in the final stages, but the home fans should have seen plenty to whet their appetite for the season ahead.

Oxford Utd: Eastwood, Ribeiro (Long 74), Nelson (Martin 44), Dunkley, Skarz, Crowley (Ashby 64), Lundstram, Rothwell, Maguire (Giles 64), Taylor (Jeacock 84), Thomas (Roberts 84).

Unused subs: Buchel, Cundy, MacDonald.

Leicester: Schmeichel (Zieler HT), Simpson (Wasilewski 60), Morgan (Hernandez HT), Huth (Moore 60), Chilwell (Elder 60), Gray (Lawrence HT), Drinkwater (Amartey 60), Choudhury (James HT), Mahrez (Schlupp HT), Ulloa (Muskwe 60), Okazaki (Musa 60).

Referee: John Busby (Oxfordshire).

Attendance: 9,487 (1,109 visitors).