BRUGES, Belgium — Leicester opened its first Champions League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Belgian champion Club Brugge on Wednesday, with Riyad Mahrez scoring twice.
The unlikely English Premier League champion took its charmed form into Europe, with Marc Albrighton scoring an easy goal after just five minutes. The Brugge defense misjudged a long throw-in and the winger only had to steer the ball into an empty net.
A bad pass forced veteran Timmy Simons to bring Jamie Vardy down near the penalty box in the 28th minute and Mahrez curled the free kick home to make the rest of the Group G match a stroll for Leicester.
Mahrez scored his second goal from the penalty spot in the 61st minute, after Vardy had been floored by the goalkeeper on a breakaway.
With the Belgian champion offering little resistance, it proved an easy night for Leicester, and a perfect respite from its Premier League troubles, where it has already lost twice in four games.
On Wednesday, the nerves were all for Bruges, which also had a bad start following its championship season, lingering in 10th place after six matches.
Add the difference in quality between the English and Belgian leagues, and Leicester ran away with the match. Leicester coach Claudio Ranieri even had the luxury of trying out new signing Islam Slimani, who did not thrill but looked solid.
“It was an important win for us,” said Ranieri.
The victory gave Leicester the lead in its group after FC Porto and Copenhagen drew 1-1.