English Premier League defending Champions, Leicester City on Tuesday night went to clash with Sevilla in UEFA Champions league last 16 as less fortunate side because of the results in the first leg. Sevilla had beaten the English side 2 – 1 but less hope was put to The Foxes Inspite of their away goal advantage. Seated in unpleasing position in the EPL, though promising in the CPL this season, Leicester wouldn’t be considered favorites as opponents Sevilla were performing both well in the domestic league and CPL.
They defied all odds and proved critics wrong by not only knocking the Spanish side out of the European competition with scoring two goals but also denying them goals in the return leg. Sevilla proved a better side in many ways, their first leg victory, and their season good performance besides visibly possessed the game throughout the ninety minutes of play. Difference is Leicester took advantage of goal opportunities.
In the sixteen yard box, Skipper Wes Morgan converted Riyad Mahrez’s cross with his right foot into the bottom right corner at the 27th minute making him become the first Jamaican player to score in the CPL and Marc Albrighton made the difference between the two clear in the 54th minute by shooting beautifully with his left foot from the center of the box to the bottom right corner. Samir Nasri’s loss of temper at the 74th minute on Jammy Vardy caused both of them yellow cards and additionally a red card for the French man since earlier on he was booked with a yellow.
However still hope was not lost as ten men Sevilla outclassed EPL defending champions with Sergio Escudero shooting vividly unfortunately denied by cross bar but nightmare became manifest when Man of the Match Kasper Schmeichel saved Steven N’zonzi’s penalty. Schmeichel put up a fascinating performance with a couple of brilliant saves before and considered to have contributed much to the clubs victory. This then becomes the second penalty he has saved in his last two Champions league appearances.
According to Sunday Times football correspondent, Jonathan Northcroft, the team’s return to usual way of play earned them the results.
“This was back to basics for Leicester tonight and that is what players wanted – that’s what got them success last year. It’s a pretty simple blueprint but they do it so well.”
Many pundits including Northcroft believe former Leicester Boss Claudio Ranieri would have had a different instruction hence justified Club Thai Owners’ decision of sacking the greatest manager in the Clubs history.
Backed by the fact that effective of Shakespeare assuming office, Leicester moved from the danger relegation line with two wins, against Liver pool and Hull City in a period of just three weeks. On the other side, Shakespeare recognized the work done by previous boss and attributed the victory to the foundation laid by him. He said,
“The performance in the first leg when Claudio was in charge, that gave us the springboard for the result tonight. Claudio will always be fondly remembered by everyone at this football club for what he achieved and helped us achieve.”
Two things, first Leicester becomes the first English side to overcome a first leg defeat against a Spanish side in the CPL last 16 since Chelsea in 2005 against Barcelona. Second, Leicester joins the famous company of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund in Friday’s Quarter finals draw.