Leicester - Kasper
Schmeichel pulled off a dramatic late penalty save as Leicester City
sank Sevilla 2-0 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals
for the first time.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, after which Claudio Ranieri was
sacked as manager, Leicester scored through Wes Morgan and Marc
Albrighton before Schmeichel repelled Steven N'Zonzi's spot-kick.
It gave them a 3-2 aggregate win and continued a remarkable
turnaround under new manager Craig Shakespeare, who has won three games
in a row since stepping up from his role as Ranieri's assistant.
"The players can be immensely proud of themselves," said Shakespeare.
"When we needed Kasper the most, he came up trumps. We deserve to be
there. We have just knocked out one of the best teams in Europe in my
Unrecognisable in the defence of their miraculous Premier League
title, Leicester have found solace in the Champions League and have now
won all four of their home matches in the competition.
They also chose a good time to rediscover a bit of defensive solidity - and good fortune - having previously gone 12 matches without
keeping a clean sheet in all competitions.
Sevilla, winners of the last three Europa Leagues, saw Samir Nasri
sent off late on after he was shown an extraordinary second yellow card
for aiming a headbutt at Jamie Vardy.
N'Zonzi might yet have taken the game to extra time after Schmeichel
was penalised for catching Vitolo after the forward had dinked a shot
But the Dane redeemed himself with a save low to his left, thwarting
Sevilla's hopes of reaching the last eight for the first time since
"I think maybe we lost it on one or two fine details," said Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli, who was sent to the stands late on.
"We didn't manage to finish our chances."
The back-to-back 3-1 wins
against Liverpool and Hull City overseen by Shakespeare had restored
Leicester's self-belief and the stadium crackled with anticipation prior
A carpet of blue and white flags greeted the teams, while Leicester's
fans unveiled a giant banner of Shakespeare, accompanied by the rousing
William Shakespeare quote: "Let slip the dogs of war."
For all the sound and fury generated by the home support, it was Sevilla who procured the first two sights of goal.
Nasri, one of eight changes made by Sampaoli, was denied by a
one-handed save from Schmeichel in the fourth minute, while Pablo
Sarabia dragged wide with his left foot.
But in the 27th minute Leicester took control of the tie, Riyad
Mahrez swinging a free-kick into the box after Vicente Iborra had felled
Vardy and Morgan bundling home with his right knee.
The King Power Stadium erupted with a noise that recalled the
triumphs of last year and short of a mishit Gabriel Mercado cross that
Schmeichel had to palm over, Leicester reached the break without alarm.
Sampaoli made two changes at half-time, sending on Mariano Ferreira
and Stevan Jovetic for Mercado and Sarabia, and eight minutes in his
side came within millimetres of restoring their advantage.
Sergio Escudero let fly with a fluttering effort from 35 yards that
crashed against the bar before bouncing down and out, with Jovetic
hoisting the rebound over.
Barely a minute later Leicester took the lead in the tie outright.
Mahrez's cross from the right was tamely headed away by Adil Rami,
allowing Albrighton to chest the ball down and arrow a left-foot drive
past a statuesque Sergio Rico.
Nasri's moment of madness arrived shortly after Schmeichel had parried from substitute Joaquin Correa.
With play ongoing, the Frenchman, taking exception to a push from
Vardy, squared up to the England striker and lowered his head, prompting
a second yellow card from referee Daniele Orsato.
Orsato was not prepared to abandon centre-stage and after awarding
Sevilla's penalty, he compounded the visitors' frustrations by sending
the protesting Sampaoli to the stands.