Craig Shakespeare, Leicester City’s interim manager, complained that his team had been “hard done by” and Kasper Schmeichel was also critical of the referee’s performance after the controversial 1-0 defeat against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Leicester were incensed that the Swedish match official, Jonas Eriksson, decided Antoine Griezmann was inside the area when Marc Albrighton fouled him to concede the decisive first-half penalty. Griezmann beat Schmeichel from the spot but Leicester’s goalkeeper was convinced it should have been a free-kick rather than a penalty.
“It has ruined our game plan,” Schmeichel said. “It is tough to take when it is so clear. We should have had something from this but we have to accept it. They might have scored from what should have been a free-kick but it is easier to score from a penalty.”
Shakespeare was also aggrieved on a night when Robert Huth collected a second-half booking that will mean he is suspended from the return leg next Tuesday. “We were hard done by,” Shakespeare said of the penalty incident. “It is one of the major decisions in the game – a definite foul but outside the box. I think it is a disappointing moment, a key moment. The referee has to get that one right, you can’t guess. Refs have a hard job but you want the key decisions correct.”
Huth’s suspension increases the importance of Wes Morgan recovering from the back injury that has ruled him out of Leicester’s last five matches. However, Shakespeare could not be certain that his captain would be back in time.
“It’s a blow to lose Robert. We had a few on yellows and we knew it was a tightrope. Wes has been out on the grass for the last few days and we hope he will be all right. But honestly, it is touch and go and we’ll have to look at team shape over the next few days.
“We know we have to be more open because we need a goal but we also know that one of Atlético’s pluses is their ability on the counter-attack.
“We are still alive and we want to stay in the competition. We know it is going to be a difficult return match but we have a very good record at the King Power.
“Atlético are a very good team and their work ethic is exceptional. We are aware of that but we are still in this tie.”
Leicester’s sports scientist, Tom Joel, was sent to the stand after complaints from the Atlético bench that he had left the technical area to try to get some drinks to Albrighton.
Diego Simeone, the Atlético coach, would not be drawn afterwards on what had upset them but he was clearly dissatisfied that his team had not been able to win more convincingly.
He said: “My team played a very good game but after we went to 1-0 our rival defended very well. It seems they were betting everything on the second leg.
“We would be happier with a bigger result but we were playing a team that knew exactly what they wanted. I am happy with the work rate of our team but we didn’t quite put it away.”