Sevilla defeated Leicester 2-1 at home in the Champions League last-16 first-leg. It was hardly the result the Foxes were looking for, but a Jamie Vardy strike maintains hopes for the second leg.
Leicester, the surprising English champions of last season, had very little of the same fortunes this current season. The team underperformed dramatically and sit 17th place in the Premier League. Thoughts are geared more towards avoiding relegation than to winning silverware as were last year.
The team fared better in the Champions League though. They won a pretty evenly matched group against Porto, Copenhagen and Club Brugge. This provided some confidence to Ranieri’s players when it came to their first leg Champions League meeting against Sevilla.
However Sevilla made good on their status as favorites. They dominated the game throughout. Sevilla has altogether had a very different season to Leicester’s. They’ve performed better than expected and are now in third place in the Premier Division, three points behind leaders Real Madrid. As things stand, winning La Liga seems a feasible goal.
It was telling that Kasper Schmeichel, the Leicester goalkeeper, was the team’s most important player on the night. The goalkeeper had numerous good saves, keeping out an early penalty and a host of other shots on goal. Leicester found themselves having to defend throughout the game.
Despite Schmeichel’s form, Sevilla managed to score twice through Pablo Sarabia’s header and Joaquin Correa’s shot from the penalty box. There were many other chances that could have provided Sevilla with an easier second leg.
It was last season’s hero Jamie Vardy providing some hope to Leicester. Vardy pounced on Danny Drinkwater’s cross in the box to score an important away goal.
Leicester then managed to hold on to the scoreline. Although defeated they now face Sevilla on home grounds in the second leg with everything to play for. If recent history has taught us anything it’s that Leicester is not a team to be underestimated in important games.