UCL: Leicester 1-1 Atletico Madrid (agg: 1-2)


Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone goes to shake hands with Jamie Vardy after Leicester's defeat

Atletico Madrid shattered Leicester City's hopes of reaching the Champions League semi-finals after a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium.


Saul Niguez's first-half header was cancelled out by Jamie Vardy's 61st-minute goal, but despite laying siege to the opposition goal in the closing stages, the Premier League champions were eliminated 2-1 on aggregate.

They always faced an uphill task as they sought to overturn the 1-0 defeat suffered in the first leg at the Vicente Calderon last week with Antoine Griezmann's controversial penalty in that game ultimately proving the decisive moment in the tie.

But after overcoming Club Brugge, Porto, FC Copenhagen and, famously, Sevilla in their maiden Champions League campaign, Leicester bow out at the quarter-final stage to an Atletico side seeking to reach their third final in four years.

Ahead of the biggest European night in their history, the Leicester players were welcomed onto the pitch by pyrotechnics, but the King Power atmosphere was flattened after 26 minutes by a fine - and crucial - away goal. As Atletico attacked with purpose for the first time in the game, Filipe Luis was afforded space to curl in a left-footed cross from the edge of the area, which was headed brilliantly back across Kasper Schmeichel and into the net by Saul.

The away goal meant Leicester needed three without reply to qualify and Riyad Mahrez almost produced the first when he volleyed straight at Jan Oblak from 18 yards after Danny Drinkwater's cross had been headed clear.

Schmeichel was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty five minutes before the break when he bundled over the marauding Yannick Carrasco inside the six-yard box, and the Atletico forward was inches away from tapping Griezmann's cross into an empty net five minutes after the interval. But after that it was all Leicester.

Craig Shakespeare had brought on both Leonardo Ulloa and Ben Chilwell at half-time as he sought to inspire a comeback and the switch to a 3-5-2 formation and a long-ball approach saw the home team dominate the final 40 minutes.

One of the substitutes, Chilwell, was involved in the goal that gave the home fans hope in the 61st minute as he chested down Marc Albrighton's right-wing cross before seeing his shot blocked by Stefan Savic. However, the ball fell perfectly into the path of Vardy who rifled the ball into the top corner from eight yards to ignite dreams of a comeback.
 
Atletico defenders made two decisive blocks to prevent a second Leicester goal as Lucas Hernandez denied Ulloa and Savic brilliantly stopped Vardy's 15-yard drive.

Mahrez curled a late free-kick just over the bar and Wes Morgan, who had been passed fit to replace the suspended Robert Huth in the starting line-up, limped off late on as Leicester's hopes faded.

The Spanish ultimately side saw out the game to earn their place in Friday's draw and end a memorable Champions League adventure for a club that may have to wait a long time to take part in this competition again.


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