CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: BRAVE LEICESTER CITY CRASH OUT TO ATHLETICO MADRID
LEICESTER CITY’S remarkable Champions League dream is over despite Jamie Vardy giving the Foxes a glimmer of hope.
The striker pounced with 30 minutes left on the clock to level the scores after Saul grabbed the vital away goal when he headed Atletico Madrid ahead.
Craig Shakespeare’s side needed two more goals and despite their admirable performance against the heavyweight giants, their fairy-tale story finally came to an end.
To sum up Leicester’s remarkable journey, it had been exactly eight years to the day since they beat Southend to clinch the League One title.
The feeling was Leicester needed to score first and moments after Shinji Okazaki wasted a glorious chance, the home side found themselves behind.
Former Chelsea man Filipe Luis produced a wonderful cross but the finish was even better as Saul powered a back post header out of Kasper Schmeichel’s reach.
Riyad Mahrez, Leicester’s brightest player, then had his side’s first chance on target in the tie when his volley lacked enough power to beat Jan Oblak.
Leicester needed to push forward in the second half and the unlikely figure of Ben Chilwell missed a great chance when his strike flew over the bar.
But main man Vardy gave his side a glimmer of hope with 30 minutes left when he lashed home a loose ball to send the King Power into raptures.
Leicester then had two glorious chances which fell to Leonardo Ulloa and Vardy but two terrific blocks kept the scores level.
Shakespeare’s side threw bodies forward searching for another but Atletico’s formidable defence held firm as they put themselves in the hat for the final four.
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
Leicester: Schmeichel 6, Simpson 6, Morgan 6 (Amartey 84, 6) Benalouane 5 (Chilwell 45, 6) Fuchs 6, Albrighton 6, Drinkwater 6, Ndidi 6, Mahrez 7, Okazaki 6 (Ulloa 46, 6) Vardy 7
Subs not used: Zieler, Musa, King, Gray
Goals: Vardy (61)
Atletico Madrid: Oblak 7, Juanfran 6 (Hernandez 55, 6) Savic 7, Godin 8, Filipe Luis 7 (Correa 74, 6), Saul 8, Gabi 7, Gimenez 9, Koke 6, Carrasco 6 (Torres 69, 5) Griezmann 7
Subs not used: Moya, Partey, Gaitain, Gameiro
Goals: Saul (26)
WHAT THEY SAID
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy: “We absolutely gave it our all, especially in the second half. They made a lot of blocks on the line.
“We were in the ascendancy. We made a tactical change with Leo (Ulloa) on to give an aerial threat. “Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. But we gave it our all and left it all out on the pitch.
“On another day some could have gone in. But we can be proud.”
Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare: “We needed to leave everything out there. Second half, even first half we played really well.
“I had to make the change earlier than I thought, but we had them rattled with the effort and commitment we showed. It’s no discredit to lose to a team of that calibre.
“The whole club, from the supporters to the players to the owners can be immensely proud, but I’ve just said to the players that they should want more of this and they’ve agreed that that’s what they want.”