Leicester City give Atletico Madrid a roasting but have to settle for an honourable defeat on aggregate

Sam Wallace
Reputations enhanced: Diego Simeone shows his admiration for the performance of Jamie Vardy and co - Getty Images Europe

They can at least say that even a coach of Diego Simeone’s standing was, for a while, powerless to stop the old Leicester City momentum carrying them on in search of the two goals that would take the club into the Champions League semi-finals, although those goals never arrived in the end

By the time that the Premier League champions started playing the way they can, Craig Shakespeare’s team required three goals to win the tie and avoid elimination and it was a long road to travel against a Champions League specialist like Atletico Madrid.

Simeone’s team reached their third semi-finals in four years, which is a testament to the powers of his assortment of old stagers, bright young things and rehabilitated rejects.

In that respect they have a great deal in common with Leicester, but there was ultimately too much knowhow in this Atletico side to squander the one goal lead they brought with them from the first leg.

They controlled the first half and scored through Saul Niguez while Leicester were still trying to figure out a way through and then when Jamie Vardy’s equaliser precipitated a siege, Atletico had the strength to see it out.

Saul soars: a towering header gave Atleti the lead Credit: Action Images via Reuters 

The home team did at least come alive in the second half with an adapted 3-5-2 formation that permitted them to compete better with Atletico in midfield than they had done before the break. There were good performances from Danny Drinkwater in midfield, and at last Riyad Mahrez came into the game, but Atletico had already established a winning position and loosening their grip on the tie was no simple task.

The home club had done their best to establish the atmosphere at the King Power for what many had feared would be the last Champions League game of a remarkable European season, with foil flags, dry ice blasts and pre-match fireworks barely discernible against a blue spring evening sky. Yet the team itself could not get off to the kind of start that put them in a position to compete against one of the finest sides in Europe.

Great teams control games and Atletico Madrid have learned the art under Diego Simeone in this, their great 21st century era. For the course of the first half, Leicester tried all the tricks that have served them so well over the course of the last 18 months and found that none worked.

The away team dropped deep to counter the threat of Jamie Vardy. They swarmed all over the midfield. Then when the chances came they got men into the box, or at least in the sort of positions where they could do damage, which was the instinct that took Saul Niguez in on the blindside of Marc Albrighton to head in his team’s second goal of the tie.

The execution was perfect, although he was unmarked when he put his head sharply through the cross curled in by Filipe Luis from the left side, and found the bottom right corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal. It was the sort of simple goal that defences as well-organised as Leicester’s have been coached to prevent but the problem is doing it against a team as precise and accomplished as Atletico.

Wes Morgan had only just managed to lunge to get a throughball away from Yannick Carrasco before Koke recycled it and found Filipe Luis for the cross. Leicester’s attempts at the other end were necessarily hectic given the intense pressure they were placed under by the Atletico defence who never permitted them to take their time over anything. The team from Spain refused to play the game at Leicester’s preferred pace, and instead opted to do it at theirs.

Shinji Okazaki managed to get on the end of a Jamie Vardy cutback on 21 minutes but his shot was struck wildly over. The first attempt on target from the home team, from Riyad Mahrez, took 34 minutes to come. The Algerian had delayed way too long over a pass to Vardy when Leicester had charged forward about a minute before the goal, but really these were just glimpses of goal rather than the real thing.

With Saul’s goal dividing the teams at half-time, Leicester required three to win the tie and given that it might be some time before the Champions League anthem plays in these parts again. No better opportunity than this for Shakespeare to cut loose  and go for the victory albeit with the caveat that Atletico are capable of causing any team that leaves the backdoor open some serious problems.

The Leicester manager replaced his centre-half Yohan Benalouane with Ben Chilwell at half-time and switched to a three-man defence with the 20-year-old as a wing-back. Leonardo Ulloa replaced Okazaki and the home team lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with initial returns pretty limited.

There was one breath-taking run from Antoine Griezmann from the halfway line which took him past Christian Fuchs in the blink of an eye and he seemed to have gone clear for a shot on goal before deciding to cut it back. His pass was just too quick for Carrasco to reach and you wondered why this marvellous little Frenchman had not taken on the shot himself instead.

Just before the hour, Atletico lost their fine right-back Juanfran to injury and perhaps it was that which unsettled them minutes later. Chilwell had already got himself into a shooting position on the left side once before when, on this occasion, Albrighton’s cross reached him. The block on Chilwell’s shot looked like a handball from Filipe Luis but it dropped straight to Vardy who finished with great composure.

In a crowded area, the Englishman could have lashed the ball but he guided it into an unguarded area of the goal and suddenly the home crowd was transformed in the King Power. They had just less than 30 minutes to score two goals and at that point it felt distinctly possible.

Atletico looked a little rattled, although they stood strong through the onslaught that followed, including a second chance for Vardy when Mahrez crept down the right channel and cut the ball back. He was benefitting from the presence of Ulloa who on that occasion had discreetly steered an Atletico defender out the way of Mahrez’s cross.   

They had at least put up a fight, and were the last English team left in the Champions League. Simeone made a point of singling out the Leicester players individually afterwards and giving them his congratulations which says a great deal about how reputations at this club have been advanced.

Ends

 

 

9:40PM

Match report

coming right up

9:36PM

Full time: Leicester City 1 Atletico Madrid 1 (Atletico win 2-1 on agg)

Well, they have had a run for their money, both on the night and in the competition.

"They have done their manager proud, they have done their fans proud, and they have done their League proud. But now it is over. They return to being Leicester City."

9:35PM

90+ mins

Three of those minutes are up. The crowd cheer for their champions, and rightly so. 

Everyone, including Schmeichel, is up the pitch. Atleti break. Griezmann has a chance to shoot from 60, 70 yards at an open goal, but gets nowhere close. Anyhow, that is the end of the match.

9:33PM

90 mins

There are going to be four minutes added. I don't think it's going to be enough. But here are the Foxes with a corner.

Schmeichel is up.

9:31PM

87 mins

It must be said, an Atletico breakaway remains a very live possibility. It's a testament to how threatening Leicester have been that this effort on the break here is Atletico's first of the half!

Attempt Saved: Leicester 1 - 1 Atlético (Ángel Correa, 88 min) 9:29PM

86 mins

Unfortunately for the Foxes, the chances aren't quite dropping for the right people. Here's Ndidi having a crack. How they wish it had been Vardy.

9:29PM

85 mins

Leicester piling it on. But they find AM in obdurate, determined mood and fashion. Is there a way through? Mahrez and Chilwell really dangerous.

9:25PM

80 mins

Morgan looks to have hurt his hamstring clearing the ball. Leicester are swinging wildly now.

Credit: BT

Already clutching as he hit the deck.

Credit: BT

The wounded hero limps off.

Credit: BT

Amartey replaces him.

9:21PM

79 mins

Leicester piling on the pressure. Gimenez has handled the ball, outside the area, but the ref did not see it. Fuchs with the long throw. Atleti clear.... long.... Schmeichel comes out and heads the ball! 35 yards off his line.

9:19PM

78 mins

Chilwell has won a corner down the left. Dealt with.

9:15PM

74 mins

Other side of Leicester City now as Vardy and then Mahrez both dive within a second or two. Ref buys the Mahrez one. They have a freekick central. Mahrez whips a great DFK at goal but it's just over.

Credit: BT

9:14PM

73 mins

Filipe Luis off for Angel Correa.

9:13PM

72 mins

Mahrez finds Vardy, who flicks a shot at goal through his legs. 

9:12PM

71 mins

Carrasco on for Torres. And here come AtMad on the break. Dangerous team on the break, perhaps as dangerous as any on the planet.

9:11PM

69 mins

Evidence of said roasting.

Leicester vs Atlético shots on goal 9:10PM

68 mins 

Yet another chance for Leicester! They're giving Atletico a real roasting at the moment. Ndidi suddenly finds himself on the ball in the box. Hits one at goal. Wide.

9:09PM

67 mins

Another great chance! Mahrez picks up a ball down the right. Crosses. It finds his mate Vardy. Savic gets in the way. Two vital blocks in two minutes.

9:07PM

65 mins

Oh Leicester! Oh Atletico! A long throw into der mixer from Fuchs. Atletico suddenly have feet of clay. They cannot clear. Morgan barging and boring, the ball drops for Ulloa. He spins and hits. Blocked by Hernandez. Just. This is thrilling stuff now. Leicester going direct, all long balls and sharp elbows.

9:04PM

63 mins

The place is rocking now. Perhaps seduced by the atmosphere, Ndidi has a daft shot from miles out. Well over.

9:02PM

GOAL! Leicester have one back!

And it's that man Vardy. Ball is played across from the right, Chilwell takes his time to control and drills a good shot at goal. It's blocked by Savic but, unluckily for Atletico, it drops to Vardy. The marksman picks his spot and slots it into the roof of the net. Excellent finish.

Leicester 1 - 1 Atlético (Jamie Vardy, 61 min) 9:01PM

58 mins

Chilwell is doing superbly. Good cross now. Ulloa might have done more.

9:00PM

57 mins

Mahrez with a dirty one, stamping down on Saul. He knows it, the AM players know it - they are having words - but the referee does not know it.

Credit: BT

Sorry, not the best grab. He went in with his foot up and brought it down on the player's inner knee.

8:58PM

55 mins

Juanfran is hurt, and going off. Lucas Hernandez on.  Savic goes to right bacl.

8:53PM

50 mins

Miss: Leicester 0 - 1 Atlético (Ben Chilwell, 51 min)

Chilwell has come on and has caused problems twice already. He hits a well-struck left foot volley JUST over the bar.

And now he has done very nicely to get above the defence for a looping header. 

8:52PM

49 mins

But Atletico are within a foot of closing the game out. Griezmann breaks, the pace and vision is exceptional, this boy really has got the set. Into the box, leaving Fuchs et all puffing on his dust, cute little clip across and it's within a gnat's whisker of being tapped in by Carrasco. Albrighton did well to get back and put him off. Some people in the stadium thought Albrighton might have bundled the guy over.

8:49PM

47 mins

Mahrez with a long cross, Albrighton has an effort. Deflected behind for a corner. Good pressure from the hosts. Their fans are roaring them hoarse.

8:47PM

46 mins

Change for Leicester as they bring on Ulloa in favour of Okazaki.

Benalouane substituted for Chilwell.

Leicester are clearly not going to give up without a fight. They're at AM right away as the half starts.

8:46PM

Leicester had some joy down the flanks

Leicester vs Atlético

Atleti extremely composed though. They are pure class.

8:31PM

HT: Leicester 0 Atletico Madrid 1

Gary Lineker: "Leicester need a miracle. What, about 5,000-1?"

Leicester vs Atletico Madrid quarter-final

8:31PM

44.58

Ref brings the half to an end with Saul running at Leicester and, by the telly clock anyway, a couple of seconds still to play. Anyhow. Half time.

8:29PM

Looking at it again

Kasper brought Carrasco down there and that should have been a pen. Very difficult to see at full speed though.

Credit: BT

8:27PM

Two good tweets here actually

8:26PM

40 mins

That boy Carrasco is a little wriggly eel, he's into the Leicester box and they need a crowbar to get the ball off him. Eventually they have to settle for Shmikes Jr diving at his feet.

8:23PM

yeah when you put it like that

8:23PM

37 mins

The danger duo of Koke and Felipe Luis are getting way too much time to scheme on that left flank for my liking. They're cooking up another killer cross, if Leicester are not careful.

8:21PM

A twitter story in two parts

8:20PM

33 mins

But these Foxes are made of stern stuff. It was striking that, even as the goal went in, several of them roared in defiance and urged the crowd on. Here is their champion, Vardy, making a good run down the left. And here their other key man, Mahrez, with a chance to volley at goal. Doesn't catch it quite right but it's on target, at least. Oblak gathers gratefully.

8:18PM

32 mins

Saul, a really wonderful player, is growing in confidence as the game continues, and why wouldn't he? Here he is curling a palm-stinger at goal.

8:11PM

HAMMER BLOW! LEICESTER LET ONE IN

Shame. But they can have no complaints.

Morgan made a wonderful interception to deny Koke, but the ball stayed alive. Koke and Filipe Luis took their time on the left wing and the latter then played a perfect cross into the area. Saul Ñíguez found himself with time and space and he produced a powerful, accurate header into the corner that gave the keeper no chance... and surely gives Leicester an insurmountable task.

Leicester 0 - 1 Atlético (Saúl Ñíguez, 26 min) 8:10PM

25 mins

Foxes again! Vintage stuff as Mahrez runs at high speed at the back line, slips to Vardy but... ah... offside.

8:09PM

23 mins

And here's another decent opportunity for Leicester. A handily placed freekick as Mahrez is felled.

Weak freekick from Mahrez (to go with a bit of a weak corner earlier). Easily gather by Jan O.

8:07PM

21 mins

But the first good chance falls to Leicester! Neat crisp move as Mahrez sends Vardy clear down the left, he cuts it back expertly and here's Okazki! Strikes it first time, but cannot hit the target.

Miss: Leicester 0 - 0 Atlético (Shinji Okazaki, 21 min) 8:06PM

19 mins

This is more like it from Leicester! Morgan gets forward and is making a nuisance of himself in the box. Now a ball hit in for Okazaki and Leicester win a corner. Cleared.

8:03PM

16 mins

Albrighton loses track of his man, Juanfran, and Juanfran is played in.... ooh that ball is just overhit. Opened up there.

Vardy hasn't been within 40 yards of the ball in the last six or seven minutes. Leicester are pinned back.

8:00PM

12 mins

Looking a bit ominous to me, this. The technique throughout the AM side is unbelievably good. The close control under pressure. It's really, really hard to get the ball off them. Good move here ends with Carrasco lashing it across the six yard area. Koke just cannot get there.

Pass: Leicester 0 - 0 Atlético (Yannick Carrasco, 13 min)

Classy move now culminates in a non-threatening shot by Saul.

Miss: Leicester 0 - 0 Atlético (Saúl Ñíguez, 14 min) 7:56PM

10 mins

Carrasco breaks... super tackle from Wes Morgan!

But danger here. Griezmann breaks, Carrasco to his outside left, crosses and Leicester have to concede a corner.

Two similar teams both doing their stuff so far.

Leicester vs Atlético 7:55PM

9 mins

Good stuff Leicester! Okazaki with a run, tireless, good close control. Ball breaks inside to Drinkwater and he has an effort. Deflected well wide.

7:53PM

8 mins

First chance for Vardy to run onto one in the area. The reliable Godin has got his number.

7:52PM

7 mins

This is good from Leicester. Fuchs getting forward, joining in with Albrighton. Leicester enjoying a spell of possession. Fuchs chips the ball into the area, looking for Okazaki. Easily headed away by Savic. Atletico don't look too worried about Leicester mounting an attack or two.

7:50PM

5 mins

Wes Morgan calmly deals with a long ball.

7:49PM

4 mins

Mahrez hoofs and agricultural ball forward and gives Vardy something to gallop at. Marshalled into touch.

Albrighton with a god run, they cannot get the ball off him. But he is running into traffic.

7:49PM

3 mins

Atletico sitting back deep, allowing Leicester onto them.  Now they make a foray forward of their own, a good driving run from Filipe Luis down the left.

7:47PM

1 mins

Early warning signs for Leicester, a good move from AM - Koke is well up on the left, tries to link up with Griezmann. Ball goes astray.

7:45PM

Kick off

WHAT an atmosphere!

7:44PM

Wes Morgan looks

a little bit nervous, to me. Is he fully fit?

7:42PM

Does look great, doesn't it?

Good luck to them. Amazing story. 

Credit: BT Sport

Gary: "Makes a change from the old Filbert Street days, doesn't it? And now live action as Leicester bid to try and get into the semi-finals of the Champions League. Words I thought I would never say in a million years."

7:32PM

Talking of JJ...

... he is on our other live blog tonight, the heavyweight contest between Madrid and Bryan.

7:30PM

Can Leicester do it?

Yes they can! Here's JJ Bull with an excellent tactical preview.

Atletico Madrid are one of the best teams in Europe managed by one of the greatest coaches in world football. They have a 1-0 lead from their first leg and Craig Shakespeare has to cope without Robert Huth and a half-fit Wes Morgan against the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro.  But this is Leicester - anything is possible! Right? How?

1) Force shots from long range

A number of the shots that Sevilla and Atletico Madrid took from outside the box in games against Leicester rattled the crossbar, the post and required excellent diving saves by Kasper Schmeichel, but none of them actually went in the goal. Leicester's compact defensive shape limits space for forward passes and prompts midfielders to shoot from range

Read more on that here.

7:27PM

Nice work by BT

They've got highlights of the Leicester and Atletico Madrid UEFA Cup tie from 20 years ago, and a veteran of that night to talk about it.

Matty Elliott: "Some bad decisions that day. Hopefully the officials don't play a part tonight. Playing Morgan and Benalouane is a big gamble, but one Craig had to take."

7:21PM

Steven Gerrard on how LCFC could win

"Set pieces. Atletico won't be used to facing that much height and power."

I dunno about that, Steven. There's plenty of warriors in that AM side.

7:20PM

Worrying drama for Craig Shakespeare

7:07PM

Looks like 4-1-4-1

for the men in red and white.

Credit: BT

 Rob Bagchi: "A George Graham-esque selection with Gimenez. Get a big centre half tearing around the midfield."

7:06PM

Here's how Leicester will line up

Credit: BT

7:05PM

Oh Gary Lineker's heart must be all a-flutter

Here is the Leader of the Opposition, and he has got himself into the stands. 

Credit: BT Sport

Talking among themselves in the studio are Stevie G, Rio, and Martin O'Neill. Sir Gary rejoins them.

Credit: BT

6:59PM

Strangely, not

6:53PM

Go on Wes Morgan!

He has come through a late test okay.

6:51PM

Here's the Leicester side

6:51PM

Captain Morgan takes his place!

6:51PM

Nice pic!

6:47PM

At last!

Emile Heskey finally rewarded for ballooning ball over bar, etc etc

6:44PM

Atletico Madrid arrive

6:41PM

Atleti have gone early with their team

Oblak in goal. Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Filipe Luis the defence. Gimenez, Gabi, Koke and Saul in midfield. Carrasco and Griezmann the attacking players.

6:38PM

Good evening! 

Tyers here, welcome to our coverage of the last eight. The team news is just dropping now...

6:37PM

Our match preview

What is it?

It's the second leg of the Champions League quarter final between Leicester City and Atletico Madrid, currently at 0-1.

When is it?

It's on Wednesday April 18.

What time is kick-off?

It's a 19.45 BST start.

Griezmann celebrates his first-leg goal Credit: Getty Images

What TV channel is it on?

You can watch this one on BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 2 HD or BT Sport 4K UHD. Alternatively, we will be bringing you every key moment right here.

What is the team news?

Leicester City

Captain Wes Morgan is likely to return for Leicester to face Atletico Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final second leg.

The skipper has missed the last six games with a back injury, but is expected to feature to solve the Foxes' defensive problems, with fellow centre-back Robert Huth suspended with Leicester trailing 1-0 from the first leg.

Islam Slimani is struggling with a groin problem, while midfielder Nampalys Mendy is out with an ankle issue.

Provisional squad: Schmeichel, Hamer, Zieler, Simpson, Benalouane, Morgan, Fuchs, Chilwell, Drinkwater, King, Ndidi, Amartey, Albrighton, Mahrez, Gray, Musa, Ulloa, Slimani, Vardy, Okazaki.

Atletico Madrid and Leicester City player ratings

Atletico Madrid

Team news to follow.

What are they saying?

Craig Shakespeare

"I don't know the average for this season and that is the problem. We don't know because we don't know how many points the other teams are going to get," Shakespeare, whose side have earned 16 points in seven games since he took over in February, said.

"If the other teams go on a run we have to put as many points on the board as we can... All I am concentrating on is making sure I stay focused and the players stay focused, and try to win every game we are in."

What are the odds? (in 90 mins)

Leicester - 13/5

Atletico Madrid - 11/10

Draw - 9/4

What's our prediction?

Atletico Madrid to add another goal in this second leg and head through to the semi-finals.

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