Leicester City 2:0 Sevilla (3:2)
City produced a superb performance against Sevilla in the Champions League second round at the KPS on Tuesday night, a 2-0 victory making this perhaps the most glorious night in the club’s history…
The atmosphere in the King Power was cranked up to 11, with an impressive Shakespearian ‘Let Slip the Dogs of War’ tifo display in the Kop end, and some great backing for the visitors in the away corner.
Craig Shakespeare offered no surprises in his starting XI, sticking to the same side for the third game running, a formula that has worked for him up to now.
So we listened to the Champions League anthem for the eighth time, and we were off.
Sevilla threatened early on, with Huth blocking Yedder’s progress, and then a fine touch by Nasri earned him some space in on the right to blast a shot from an angle that Schmeichel did very well to block with his left arm.
City began to press forward and in the 10th minute Ndidi was inches away from getting his head to an Albrighton corner, before Iborra blocked Mahrez’s shot from the clearance.
An Ndidi foul on Vitolo 25 yards out gave Sevilla a free-kick with possibilities, but Rami sent it sailing over the bar.
Nasri was then booked for clattering Ndidi, a yellow card that would have consequences later on.
In the 21st minute Sarabia dragged his shot wide from a decent position and Sevilla would soon rue that missed chance.
In the 27th minute, City turned the tie on its head. Iborra fouled Vardy out on the left and Mahrez lined up the free-kick. He floated a perfect ball into the area, which evaded the ruck in the middle and fell for Morgan to knee it home at the far post.
This caused pandemonium around the ground and a frantic spell of play as Sevilla attempted an instant reply. Iborra had a shot blocked and Fuchs headed the resultant corner clear. Yedder then sent a shot into the sidenetting when well placed.
Mercado’s cross/shot then had to be tipped away by Schmeichel before City managed to calm things down.
They were the better side up to the break. Vardy had a shot blocked, Drinkwater fired an effort straight at Rico, and Fuchs made great progress down the left, staying on his feet after a foul in the area, but shooting straight at the keeper.
The half time whistle meant that City were 45 minutes away from a place in the quarter finals and the tension was almost unbearable.
This feeling worsened when Sevilla, with Mariano and Jovetic on for Mercado and Sarabia, had the best of the second half opening spell.
Huth cleared a dangerous low cross from Vitolo, and Fuchs got his head to a Nasri cross before a horrible moment in the 53rd minute when Escudero strode forward before unleashing a dipping 30 yarder that hit the underside of the bar.
It was a reminder of how narrow City’s ‘away goal lead’ was but a minute later City went ahead in the tie and the King Power erupted again.
Okazaki had a shot blocked, Mahrez crossed the loose ball, Rami’s attempted clearance fell for Albrighton, who took a composed touch before firing a shot just inside the right hand post.
Although Sevilla could still force extra time with a goal, they looked rattled and weren’t causing City’s defence many problems.
Shakespeare made his first change in the 63rd minute, bringing Slimani on for Okazaki, who had run himself into the ground once again.
Vardy then wasted a good chance when Rico pushed a Mahrez cross into his path.
But the tie turned further in City’s favour in the 74th minute when Nasri lost his rag with Vardy following a tussle and appeared to be the main aggressor in a coming together of heads. He was shown his second yellow, but wasn’t prepared to go quietly into the night, having to be dragged off the field by his teammates.
The FA Cup match at Millwall showed us that ten men can be better than eleven, and so it proved here, with Sevilla being awarded a 79th minute penalty.
Vitolo charged into the area and lifted the ball over Schmeichel, who then crashed into him. The referee pointed to the spot and booked the City keeper.
Silence fell around the ground and the spectre of extra time loomed, but N’Zonzi’s spot-kick was poor and Schmeichel saved low to his left.
A huge roar greeted the save and it looked as though the footballing gods were back on City’s side.
Sevilla were losing their composure now, and coach Jorge Sampaoli was sent to the stands in a gibbering rage.
City continued to look for goals and Vardy sent a header straight at Rico with the goal at his mercy.
Slimani then went clear down the right, but stumbled in trying to round Rico and the chance was gone.
City last chance came in the 89th minute when Mahrez hared down the middle on the break, and set up Vardy, who snatched his effort over the bar, before giving his face a good pummelling in frustration.
Sevilla desperately pushed forward in the four minutes of time added on. Correa had a shot blocked and blazed another one over, but the final whistle eventually sounded and Leicester City were in the Champions League quarter finals.
You may have to read that sentence a few times.
It had been a magnificent performance from every City player and this incredible journey continues.
Craig Shakespeare commented: “We deserve to be in the quarter-finals, we have just knocked out one of the best teams in Europe in my opinion. I think it has to stand right up there with all of our achievements because of the quality of the opposition. We know there will be some terrific teams in the last eight, as there were in the previous round, but we’re in there on merit – we might just be the surprise team.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Amartey 89), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 63), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, King, Gray, Ulloa.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Mercado (Mariano 46), Pareja, Rami, Sarabia (Jovetic 45), Iborra, Nzonzi, Escudero, Vitolo, Ben Yedder (Correa 68), Nasri. Subs Not Used: Soria, Kranevitter, Vazquez, Lenglet.
Referee: D Orsato. Attendance: 31,520.
ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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