Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton scored as Leicester reached the last eight of the Champions League at the expense of 10-man Sevilla
“Incredible,” says Wes Morgan. “We did it. We proved a lot of people wrong. We’ve pulled off the impossible again.” And how much longer are they going to keep pulling off the impossible? Into the last eight they go, at the expense of one of the best sides in Spain. Sevilla are no mugs. They’re third in La Liga! Leicester are 15th in the Premier League! They sacked their manager a month ago! They’ve never been in the Champions League before! But they’ve come up with a performance that was a blend of defiance and quality. They were gutsy, organised and ruthless at the crucial moments. They also rode their luck at times. But they also made their own. How about Kasper Schmeichel saving a penalty in each leg? There’s something about this Leicester side. It’s not quite a case of Claudio Who? But you have to take your hat off to Craig Shakespeare. Good old Craig. Thanks for reading and emailing. Bye.
Barcelona. Bayern Munich. Borussia Dortmund. Juventus. Real Madrid. Leicester City. Craig.
Kasper Schmeichel’s been mobbed by his team-mates in the middle of the park. Sevilla’s players can’t believe it. But it’s happened.
Leicester City have done it! They’re into the last eight of the Champions League!
90 min+4: Correa twists and turns and crosses. It’s deflected. Schmeichel can’t stop it going behind. Rico’s up for the corner!
90 min+3: It’s all Sevilla. They’ve got 10 men!
90 min+2: Vitolo chases after a ball down the inside right channel. The heroic Schmeichel races out of his area and concedes a throw. Sevilla lob another long one into the area. The ball falls to Correa, who lifts his volley over the bar!
90 min+1: Escudero chips a nothing ball into the Leicester area. Albrighton shepherds it out for a goal-kick.
90 min: There will be four added minutes. The home fans roar.
89 min: Daniel Amartey replaces Riyad Mahrez, who’s booked for timewasting. “Am I the only one who thinks that Vardy gets Nasri sent off with an Oscar-winning reaction to the latter’s face getting to slightly close to his own?” Hanne Mallinen-Scott says. No, but it was moronic from Nasri.
88 min: Slimani cleverly finds Mahrez, who tears off up field, away from the trailing Sevilla runner and towards goal. He hares off to the left, then unselfishly pulls it to Vardy, unmarked to his right. It’s not his night, though. With only Rico to beat, Vardy blazes over the bar!
87 min: Jovetic crosses from the left. Huth clears at the second time of asking. Leicester storm up the other end and Slimani’s through on goal, but he can’t take it round Rico. This is magnificent end-to-end stuff now!
86 min: Fuchs chucks a long throw down the line. Albrighton brilliantly steers a reverse header into the six-yard box and Vardy should score, only to head too close to Rico.
85 min: Do Sevilla drop into the Europa League if they don’t score?
84 min: Ndidi’s booked for leading with an arm in an aerial challenge.
83 min: Jorge Sampaoli has been sent to the stands! It’s not clear why.
82 min: That was a shocking penalty by N’Zonzi.
81 min: Leicester are going to win the Champions League.
80 min: N’Zonzi casually runs up to the spot-kick and rolls it towards the bottom left corner with his right foot at around 3mph. Schmeichel guesses right and pushes it away! What drama! He saved one in the first leg and he’s denied Sevilla again! His dad’s on his feet in the stands!
79 min: Vitolo bursts through on goal and dinks it over Schmeichel, who clatters into him! The ball’s cleared off the line but the referee points to the spot, deciding that Schemichel impeded Vitolo! The Leicester keeper’s booked.
78 min: Replays show that Vardy had wound Nasri up with a couple of shoves in the back. Nasri didn’t react well. Vardy certainly made the most of the incident too.
75 min: Nasri took a long time leaving the pitch. He was very eager to continue the debate with Vardy and had to be pulled away by his team-mates. He has badly let himself down. Jorge Sampaoli will be furious.
74 min: Samir Nasri has completely lost the plot! Remonstrating about something or other with Jamie Vardy off the ball, he juts his head into the Leicester striker’s and after a brief delay, the Italian referee brandishes a second yellow card! Vardy was also at it, but that is ridiculous from Nasri. He was already on a booking and his team-mates are busy chasing a goal to save their skins. What a berk.
73 min: Vitolo slips a beautiful pass through to Correa, who turns and lashes goalwards. Schmeichel’s strong hands push the drive away.
72 min: Sevilla’s domination is of the sterile variety. They do not look like scoring.
71 min: Vitolo threatens to scamper into the area from the right, but Fuchs covers splendidly and the move dies a sad death. Leicester’s defending has been faultless since half-time.
69 min: Iborra hoicks a cross towards the far post from the left. Simpson knocks it behind. The corner comes to nothing.
68 min: Sevilla make their final change, Joaquin Correa on for Wissam Ben Yedder.
67 min: Mahrez teases Sevilla on the right before driving a low ball into the six-yard box. Rico pushes it away from Slimani, who was poised for a tap-in, but only as far Vardy. He could kill this tie off, more or less, but scuffs wide with his left foot. Will it be a costly miss?
66 min: “This from Phil West in tonight’s MBM – “Followers of the MBM’s, OBO’s and the Rugby see all of you as distant mates in a hypothetical pub – chatting about the events”,” says Andrew Howard. “I’d like to second this – it sounds a little daft, but the MBM / OBO in all its guises is one of the warmest, friendliest parts of the internet and for many of us, it is a reliable, comfortable old friend that provides light relief and sanity in a slightly crazy current world and it is made by the Guardian team and the community that you foster. My thoughts are with Dan’s family and friends and you guys. 31 is stupidly, cruelly young.”
65 min: Sevilla try a long throw. Iborra can only flick it on to Schmeichel. That pretty much sums up where the visitors are at the moment.
63 min: Islam Slimani replaces Shinji Okazaki, who’s a right old pest.
62 min: Jovetic, quiet since his introduction, wins a corner on the right. The travelling fans roar their encouragement, but Nasri’s corner’s headed away. “If this were a curling MBM, we’d be talking about Ailsa Craig,” says David Sterling.
61 min: There’s very little conviction or intensity about Sevilla at the moment. They looked stunned. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
59 min: Vitolo’s booked for dissent. Sevilla are in danger of losing the plot here. “Former Neighbours ‘actor’ Craig McLachlan did something unusual and released a hit song in 1990,” says Brand King. “Titled ‘Mona’ it seems fairly harmless until he suggests to his love interest by way of lyric that he intends to build a house next to hers. Probably not the cleverest of stalking tactics, given the time it takes to get building approval. The video is an accurate depiction of the Australian courting ritual.”
57 min: “If you do decide to start riffing on Mr. Fuchs, maybe I should let you know that Brazilian club EC Vitória’s coach is called Argel Fucks (you can google it, I promise you won’t be fired for this),” says Victor Lucindo. “Yes.”
56 min: As it stands, Sevilla need a goal to force extra-time. This is ridiculous. They should have smashed Leicester in the first leg and now look!
Shinji Okazaki picks up possession on the edge of the area and tries a shot. His effort’s blocked and spins over to Mahrez on the right. His cross is headed away by Rami, but only as far as Albrighton, who controls with one touch before lashing a low drive past the statuesque Rico with his left foot! Incredible! A minute after Sevilla hit the bar, Leicester go straight up the other end and score!
53 min: Escudero lollops forward from the back and decides he might as well have a go from 30 yards. Leicester won’t mind that. Or so you’d think. The defender’s effort wobbles and dips and swerves amazingly through the air. It looks like it’s going over. But Schmeichel’s concerned enough to leap into a dive. He knows. The ball drops devastatingly at the last moment – but not enough! It crashes against the bar and Leicester live on. But wait! Here’s Ben Yedder, surely about to wallop in the rebound. But no! He blasts it over! And…
52 min: Nasri wafts an effort well off target, earning the derision of the Leicester fans. “Let’s not forget Cricket has provided some notable Craig’s – Craig McDermott from Australia and Craig McMillan form New Zealand!” says Ammar Zaidi.
51 min: Albrighton pounces on a poor pass out from the back and dashes down the left before finding Okazaki, who promptly loses it.
50 min: Craig.
49 min: Nasri lofts a dangerous ball into the area, looking for Ben Yedder, but Fuchs is in the right place to clear. Moments later, Vardy lands awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Mariano. He’ll need some treatment.
“Been thinking of a likely team that the two Shakespeares would send out,” says Kevin Ryan. “What do you think of this lot?
Goalkeeper: Hamlet- Prince of Denmark (i.e. Peter Schmeicel)
Back Four: Puck( nippy), Malvolio and Shylock (nasty, horrible) Toby Belch (iracible, loud)
Midfield: Antonio, Bassanio and Graciano (well, they sound tasty and they’re Italian, which is much the same thing)
Forwards: Caliban (an early Diego Costa), Othello (big and strong, a sort of Lukaku) , Brutus (devious, shifty, likely to dive and get opponents sent off).”
48 min: Vitolo diddles his way to the right byline and digs out a low cross. Schmeichel plunges down to claim it, but Huth gets there first and boots it behind.
46 min: Off we go again. Sevilla get the second half underway and they’ve made two changes. Mariano and Stefan Jovetic are on for Mercado and Sarabia. “Have none of your Welsh readers offered Craig Bellamy as an addition to the illustrious list?” says Peter Oh.
Leicester are 45 minutes away from a place in the Champions League quarter-finals thanks to a goal from Wes Morgan. Uh huh.
45 min: Okazaki’s brought down by the error prone Pareja 25 yards out. The ball’s over to the left, but Mahrez might fancy a shot here. Or not. Instead Leicester work the ball to Fuchs on the edge of the area and his shot’s charged down.
43 min: Sevilla probe down the right flank. Mercado drills a low ball towards the near post. Huth shovels it behind with Ben Yedder looking to cause some trouble. The corner comes to nothing and Leicester clear their lines. Pareja’s misjudgement on the halfway line allows Vardy to set off on a sprint down the right flank and attempt to find Okazaki with a dinked cross. The ball’s headed back to him and he tries an ambitious volley from 20 yards. Under pressure, he hits it wide.
@JacobSteinberg Thanks Jacob, the best Craig of them all, Jim Craig, European cup winner with Celtic, 1 Scotland cap, returned to dentistry!
40 min: Fuchs imaginatively tricks his way past his man on the left and after some scrappy play on the edge of the area, the ball bounces back to him. There’s a hint of a foul on the Leicester left-back, but he just about keeps his balance when he might have gone down looking for a penalty and in the end he mishits a shot straight at Rico.
38 min: Drinkwater dribbles a shot straight at Rico from 20 yards. “Shakespeare is making notes,” says Graeme Jamieson. “Who will be the first professional footballer to appear on Craigslist?”
37 min: Leicester’s last clean sheet was against Middlesbrough on 2 January. And your Thursday night five a side team could keep a clean sheet against Middlesbrough.
35 min: A poor clearance from N’Zonzi drops to Vardy on the edge of the area, but the Leicester striker can’t make the most of the opportunity, seeing a tame shot easily blocked. Sevilla storm up the other end, but Sarabia’s dispossessed in the Leicester area. “My good friend is a funeral-home director who goes by the name of Craig,” says Richard Robinson. “He’s not famous, regrettably, but the strap-line on his business card reads: “From Cradle to Craig”, which would be cracking banter if a) it scanned properly and b) it wasn’t being foisted into the shaking hands of the recently-bereaved.”
34 min: Leicester are sitting back and challenging Sevilla to open them up. Their shape has been good, although it must be said that Sevilla have been disappointing.
32 min: Mercado drives a cross into the area from the right. Schmeichel has to push it over the bar. The corner comes to nothing. “Don’t forget Craigslist, favourite haunt of creepy middle aged men looking for younger women,” says Bill Zull.
30 min: Sevilla have woken up, all right. The ball’s headed back into the Leicester area. Huth and Morgan leave it to each other, allowing Ben Yedder to nip in and let fly with his right foot. His shot flashes wide of the near post, though. “Please tell Jason Onerheim that Richard III was written by William Craig,” says Geoff Wignall.
29 min: Leicester need to switch on at the back. Iborra finds a pocket of space just outside the area and shoots. It’s blocked. Corner to Sevilla. The ball’s sent into the area and Fuchs heads it away. Nervy times for the disbelieving home fans.
And boy do they make the most of that opportunity! Riyad Mahrez, a peripheral presence so far, swings in an inviting free-kick with his left foot. It flies over everyone in the middle but Morgan is alert at the far post and manages to bundle it over the line with one of his enormous thighs! The King Power Stadium erupts with an outpouring of joy! Leicester lead on away goals.
26 min: Vardy skedaddles inside from the left. He seems to have taken a heavy touch, but he just nicks it away before Iborra comes steaming in and rashly brings him down on the left, just outside the area. This is a good opportunity for Leicester to load the Sevilla area.
24 min: Mahrez is struggling to get on the ball at the moment. Leicester need him on the ball. He can’t get on the ball.
23 min: Jeers greet a spell of extended Sevilla possession. The Spaniards aren’t going anywhere here, though. This is a tight game. “I’m enjoying the Famous Craigs riff,” says David Hopkins. “Why stop with that? Picking a player at random, does anyone know any famous Christians? Or any famous Fuc… Oh no, hang on..”
21 min: Sevilla counter, Nasri lobbing a pass forward to Ben Yedder, who uses his strength to nod it down to Sarabia, arriving late to offer support. Sarabia takes a touch and drags a shot a few yards wide of the left post. “Anyone know what Sami Nasri’s girlfriend’s twitter name is?” sys Charles Antaki. “On the strength of her previous public pronouncements, I’d like to know what she thought of the ref just then.”
20 min: “Kevin Bacon was in the movie Balto with the actor Jim Carter,” says Jason Onerheim. “Jim Carter was in the movie Richard III. Richard III was written by, you guessed it, Shakespeare!”
19 min: Leicester have responded well to Sevilla’s early pressure and they’re looking dangerous when they attack. Simpson bursts down the right and lofts a high cross towards the far post. Rico unconvincingly pats it away.
18 min: Nasri, presumably miffed to have had that free-kick taken off him by Rami, boots Ndidi up into the air in a harmless position on the left. He’s booked. “He might be a Craig but what do you reckon his real surname to be?” says Geoff Wignall. “Marlowe? De Vere? Jonson? Dee?”
17 min: Adil Rami moves Samir Nasri aside. Then he wonks the free-kick over the bar. Here’s a song about Craigness, courtesy of Geoffrey Vivian.
16 min: Vitolo rumbles through the middle and Ndidi bundles him over from behind around 25 yards from goal. Sevilla might fancy a shot here. Samir Nasri’s lining it up.
15 min: Iain Gray alerts us to Wendy Craig.
14 min: “In America, where I live, Craig rhymes with Greg,” says Simon Kaplan. “There’s a small town in Scotland called Craigmillar. Does that count?”
12 min: Fuchs chucks the throw to the area. It sails above everyone. It’s a shame Rory Delap never played in the Champions League.
11 min: Leicester begin to squeeze Sevilla and Albrighton’s bustling earns a corner on the left. Albrighton swings it in and Ndidi almost gets his head to the ball in the six-yard box. Sevilla clear as far as the edge of the area, where Mahrez is lurking. His shot’s deflected by Iborra and spins off for a throw on the left.
10 min: CRAIG.
9 min: “Even more amazing, Craig Shakespeare has the same first name as Craig David, Craig Charles and Craig Douglas,” notes Kevin Ryan. “And get this, his first name is the same as the current surname of the present star of James Bond movies. Impressive, huh?”
Please send me examples of further famous Craigs.
8 min: Okazaki wriggles mischievously on the right, but he can’t shake off Vitolo. Despite his attempts to win a corner, Sevilla end up with a goal-kick.
6 min: Sevilla are beginning to get a feel for the ball. Leicester might have to endure long spells without the ball tonight. That might suit them, though. As everyone but Pep Guardiola knows, they love playing on the break.
4 min: Sarabia clips a ball into the area from the light. Nasri steps in front of Morgan at the near post, skipping away from the Leicester captain with a fine first touch before rapping a shot goalwards with his second. Schmeichel brilliantly turns it behind for a corner. What a save. Sevilla are already creating chances, though, and that has to be a worry for Leicester. The Spaniards don’t look intimidated at all.
3 min: Nasri slides a pass towards the onrushing Ben Yedder, who threatens to burst through on goal, only for Huth to step in with a superb challenge.
2 min: Did you know that Craig Shakespeare has the same surname as William Shakespeare?
And we’re off! Leicester, kicking from left to right and all in blue, get the game underway. The noise is deafening. Sevilla are in white shirts and shorts and red socks.
Here come the teams! The King Power Stadium is rocking and it’s a sea of blue and white in the stands. It’s almost time. But first, the Champions League anthem.
Leicester are unchanged for the third game running under Craig Shakesperare. 4-4-2, back to basics, plenty of hard running, get it to Mahrez and Vardy – you know the drill. There’s still no place in the 18 for Ahmed Musa, though.
Sevilla have made eight changes from the 1-1 draw with Leganes. Mercado, Pareja, Iborra, N’Zonzi, Escudero, Vitolo, Ben Yedder and Nasri all come in.
Everyone at the Guardian was shocked to hear that our colleague, Dan Lucas, suddenly passed away on Sunday. Dan was a talented member of our live blogging team on the sports desk and a good-hearted soul. I’m sure that his family and loved ones will appreciate the following messages from our readers.
“Very sad to hear the news about Dan Lucas,” Ian Copestake says. “If there is something as grand as an OBO/MBM community, then he was an important part of it and will be greatly missed among those who circulate within it.”
Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Albrighton, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Mahrez; Okazaki, Vardy. Subs: Zieler, Chilwell, Amartey, King, Gray, Slimani, Ulloa.
Sevilla: Rico; Mercado, Rami, Pareja; Sarabia, Iborra, N’Zonzi, Escudero; Vitolo, Ben Yedder, Nasri. Subs: Soria, Ferreira, Kranevitter, Correa, Jovetic, Vazquez, Lenglet.
The players of Leicester City have probably spent most of the day debating whether it would actually be wise to beat Sevilla. Just imagine the moral outrage if those ungrateful so and so’s have the temerity to reach the last eight of the Champions League less than a month after sticking the knife into dear old Claudio, the saintliest saint who ever sainted. No, it just won’t do. The only way for these scoundrels to regain our trust and respect – for what else could possibly be more important – is to do the gentlemanly thing, roll over and let Sevilla whoop them 10-0.
Thing is, though, these professional footballers who have been portrayed as the lowest of the low also happen to be the champions of England. Perhaps, then, we can grudgingly admit that they do have some good qualities. And maybe now everyone’s calmed down, might it be possible for us to acknowledge that while nobody can take away Claudio Ranieri’s achievements last season, the Italian’s magic had worn off long before the time he was handed his P45 (and an enviable severance package)? The truth is that Leicester were going down under Ranieri. It was time for a change. Players who looked lost and confused a month ago have been rejuvenated under
Craig Shakespeare and Leicester have won two games on the bounce since parting company with Ranieri. Stretch that winning streak to three matches here and they could keep their European Cup dream alive. Worth the hassle? Worth the hassle.
Roberto Di Matteo