Leicester ‘can go all the way’ after beating PSV Eindhoven as ‘brave’ late turnaround secures first-ever European semi-final April 14, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
A late fightback from Leicester City earned a 2-1 victory over PSV Eindhoven, and the Foxes’ first ever European semi-final.
After a 0-0 draw at home last week, the Foxes had it all to do in the Netherlands as they looked to keep their European hopes alive, something that they managed with a late double from James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira.
Eran Zahavi looked like he’d sent PSV on their way with a tight-angled opener past a desperate Kasper Schmeichel inside half an hour, but Brendan Rodgers’ men weren’t finished.
The Foxes continued to battle through the quarter-final, and with 13 minutes to go, they turned the game on it’s head.
A brilliant leveller from the lively Maddison sent the away crowd into delirium, before an unexpected source decided the game when right-back Pereira crashed home the game’s winner.
The result means Leicester will stage their first ever European semi-final as they reach new ground in the final four of the Europa Conference League.
It could also be the side’s only shot of European football next season, currently mid-table in the Premier League with big rewards on offer for if they can go all the way in Europe this year.
Maddison looked bright early on, while Kelechi Iheanacho played in Harvey Barnes who sent his effort wide after just 15 minutes of the match.
The game’s first pivotal moment came after 27 minutes when Youri Tielemans gave the ball away on the edge of the Leicester penalty area, leading Mario Goetze to tee up Eran Zahavi who converted with a wonderful low effort from a tight angle.
Tielemans has been heavily linked with a move away from Leicester this summer with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United both said to be keen, but watching on for talkSPORT 2 was Matt Holland who described the error as ‘a silly mistake’.
He said: “We talked about Youri Tielamans and how good he is on the ball, but he plays a blind pass backwards and straight into the path of Zahavi. He gives it to Mario Goetze, back to Zahavi and from a tight angle there’s plenty to do.
“There’s only once place he can put it, into that far corner. Kaspar Schmeichel may be slightly late to react and slightly late getting down as it bobbles over his arm and into the bottom corner.
“The mistake from Tielemans has resulted in a PSV goal after a decent start for Leicester. The ball came to him and he just didn’t look. Instead of looking forward, he tried to play it back to the centre halves, into the path of Goetze.
“Leicester haven’t played badly but it’s a silly mistake that’s cost them.”
The Foxes had their opportunities to get back into the game, with Maddison’s hooked effort being cleared off the line shortly after Zahavi’s opener.
Patson Daka and Ademola Lookman were introduced at half-time as Leicester looked to find a way back into the game, and shortly after the hour mark Daka had one of the Foxes’ best chances after being played through on goal, however the forward dragged his effort harmlessly wide of the mark.
It was at that point when the travelling Leicester fans started to think that it might not be their night.
Ayoze Perez was next to be introduced as Brendan Rodgers threw his attacking armory onto the pitch, but as Tielemans sent an effort high over the bar, frustrations started to boil for the Foxes.
However that tension was lifted minutes later when Perez wriggled free down the right side of the penalty area, before squaring to Maddison who slammed the ball into the roof of the net to draw the game level at 1-1.
That goal turned the tide of the encounter, and with Leicester pushing forward they managed to find the decisive goal as Ricardo Pereira slotted home late in the match to put the Foxes ahead with just a few minutes to play.
PSV pushed forward in injury time and tried hard to get a late leveler, but according to Matt Holland, it was the timely substitutions from the Leicester boss that proved decisive on the night.
He said: “It’s been a great great turnaround, a brilliant response by Leicester in this second half, they deserve this.
“I was a bit critical of Adamola Lookman about 15 minutes ago, he hadn’t impacted the game as much as I’d liked him to have done coming off the bench, he’s come alive in the last 10 minutes or so, got to give real credit to both of the substitutes, Lookman and Perez.
“Perez set the first up, Lookman involved in the second goal as well.
“They have pushed really hard, Leicester, they’ve been brave.”
And as for Leicester’s chances of winning the competition? Holland was convinced.
“The confidence of coming to a place like this and turning it around and winning will say to them ‘Do you know what? We can go all the way,” he said.
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