Leicester 1-1 Atletico (Agg: 1-2): Magnificent Foxes' Champions League Dream Ends After Stalemate

Ben Horlock
90Min

Leicester City's Champions League dreams are over after a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday. 

Jamie Vardy's equaliser on 61 minutes cancelled out Saul Niguez's brilliant header, as the Foxes bowed out 1-2 on aggregate. 

It was an admirable effort from Craig Shakespeare's side, who took the game to Diego Simeone's hotshots, but were unable to break the Spaniards down. 

Saul's goal was somewhat against the run of play and Atletico have never lost when the 22-year-old has scored in the Champions League. Vardy's equaliser did spur the Premier League winners to find a winner, but Madrid managed to hold firm.

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Leicester welcomed back captain Wes Morgan, after he missed the last six games with a back injury. Danny Drinkwater and Shinji Okazaki returned to the starting XI after being rested against Crystal Palace. Atletico gave a surprise start to Yannick Carrasco, who partnered Antoine Griezmann in attack and Fernando Torres had to settle for a place on the bench. 

The home side started in a sprightly enough fashion without ever really carving out any chances of note. Okazaki was looking lively, but it was Atletico who broke forward and almost scored. 

Griezmann slipped in Carasso down the left-hand side, but his cross was stabbed away by Danny Simpson, with three Atletico players lurking. Shakespeare's side began to adopt a patient approach and they almost scored through Okazaki. 

The Japanese international blazed over after a lovely move involving Riyad Mahrez and Vardy, which allowed the England forward to get behind the Atletico defence. The applause from the crowd was warranted, despite the miss, and the home support tried to encourage their heroes. 

However, just five minutes later, Saul silenced the King Power after he scored a wonderful goal from a Filipe Luis cross. It was a delightful ball from the Brazilian and Saul planted a superb header back past Kasper Schmeichel from the far post.

It was a heartbreaking moment for Leicester, but there was no denying the sheer brilliance of the goal. From all of 12 yards out, the Spanish midfielder arced his neck and powered it past the outstretched Dane. 

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Mahrez managed to muster Leicester's first attempt on target in the tie. The Algerian hit an 18 yard volley goal wards after Diego Godin's header fell kindly to him. Jan Oblak was equal to it as he gathered with ease. 


Los Colchoneros tried to steady the flow of the game in the second period, Griezmann teeing up Carrasco, but the former was just unable to connect with the goal at his mercy. Then, sub Ben Chilwell had a couple of chances, including a volley that whistled just over the bar. 

The youngster was then at hand for Vardy's goal which brought them level on the night. Coming in late at the back post, Chilwell sent a volley goal bound that was directed in the direction of Vardy. The 30-year-old smashed home beyond a wall of defenders from close-range. 

The momentum was certainly with the Foxes, registering 13 shots to Atletico's 0 in the second period. Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa came close with the former seeing his shot blocked by Stefan Savic. 

Mahrez grew in confidence as the game went on and he went close from a free-kick. Last season's PFA Player of the Year bent it just over the bar, as City desperately tried to force another goal. 

It didn't come unfortunately, but Leicester's heroic efforts will be fondly remembered for years to come. 


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