Leicester City, now under the tutelage of Craig Shakespeare, are finally getting back to playing proper football. The firing of Claudio Ranieri lit a match in the hearts, minds, players and collective soul of the club, and the Foxes have gone back into motion with a 2-0 shutout win over Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla FC that gave them a 3-2 win on aggregate following a 2-1 defeat away.
Wes Morgan (27′) and Marc Albrighton (54′) scored for Leicester with Riyad Mahrez orchestrating the offense. Mahrez has had a hand in six of Leicester’s nine Champions League goals. Samir Nasri was sent off for Sevilla in the 74th minute on a second yellow card.
Some interesting tidbits courtesy of Opta as goal scorer Albrighton has netted both of his goals for the Premier League outfit in the UCL competition while his teammate, Morgan became the first Jamaican to score in Champions League history.
8 – Leicester’s victory means England have now had more different teams reach the CL quarter-final than any other nation (eight). Rule. pic.twitter.com/ZM3JGrJbur
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 14, 2017
There is a double irony to all this. Sevilla, the club that Unai Emery left to join Paris Saint-Germain, are eliminated in the same round as PSG, who threw away a four-goal advantage in one of their worst performances as a club in their history to lose 6-5 to Barcelona.
Furthermore, Leicester City, who lost 4-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the International Champions Cup, advances one round further than the Parisians. Such is the parity in European club football, in spite of the establishment paying their dues inevitably.
“I was very pleased [with the players],” said Shakespeare. “Of course in a cup tie of this stature against one of the best teams in Europe, we needed to make sure that we kept cool heads. We also needed to show a competitive edge and I think we showed that from the first minute. I think we set our stall out really well from the first minute. That was the game plan, to try to make it as uncomfortable as we could for Sevilla. We didn’t want them playing their passing game and you could see that from the first minute.
“We know when the crowd get behind us here it can lift the players but also the players can lift the fans with the type of football that we started with from the first minute. It (a quarter-final) would be memorable for everybody at the Football Club, myself included, but the supporters too. They got behind us from the very first minute. Everybody associated with the Football Club can be proud of that performance tonight.”
Leicester City are currently 15th on the ladder and could potentially get nine points from their next three games against West Ham away (Mar. 18) and at home to Stoke (Apr. 1) and Sunderland (Apr. 4). The Foxes have not lost since their 2-1 loss to Sevilla and could be finding the right time to hit their winning form to ensure their survival in the top flight.