The fairytale continues
From heroes to zeros and back again, Leicester City’s remarkable rollercoater ride took another twist as a superb 2-0 victory over Sevilla put them in the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Down 2-1 from the first leg last month in Spain — when they were also careering towards relegation — Leicester rolled back the clock to last season’s Premier League title heist as goals by skipper Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton put them in the last eight in their first crack at Europe’s elite competition.
Europa League aristocrats Sevilla’s dream of a first appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals turned sour as Samir Nasri was sent off shortly before Steven N’Zonzi’s 80th-minute penalty was saved by Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
It looked ominous for Champions League debutants Leicester in the early exchanges as Sevilla sought the away goal that would have put them in complete control of the tie.
A well-organised Leicester worked tirelessly and looked dangerous from set pieces and it was from a Riyad Mahrez free-kick that they took the lead with skipper Morgan bundling the ball into the Sevilla net with his thigh in the 27th minute.
Ahead on away goals the situation played perfectly into Leicester’s hands as they sat deep and broke quickly with Jamie Vardy’s pace always a threat.
Sevilla went desperately in search of a goal but Nasri got himself needlessly sent off in the 74th minute after squaring up to Vardy and bumping foreheads. Nasri received a second yellow card while Vardy, an irritation all night to Sevilla, was cautioned.
In Turin, Juventus coasted into the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Porto after a first-half penalty and red card ended the Portuguese side’s lingering hopes of a comeback.
Paulo Dybala converted the penalty three minutes before the break to complete a 3-0 aggregate win for the Serie A side after Porto defender Maximiliano Pereira blocked Gonzalo Higuain’s goalbound shot with his arm and was sent off.
The defeat put a dampener an historic evening for Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas who made a record 175th appearance in European competition, overhauling Paulo Maldini’s total.
The Italians never looked like relinquishing their 2-0 lead from the first leg of the last 16 tie in Portugal three weeks ago when Porto also played the second half with 10 men after Alex Telles was dismissed for two bookable offences.
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