Did Jamie Vardy cheat to get Samir Nasri sent off?
Leicester striker under fire over key turning point in epic Champions League clash with Sevilla
Some of the gloss has been taken of Leicester City's progress to the last eight of the Champions League after Samir Nasri accused Jamie Vardy of cheating to get him sent off during the second leg of the tie with Sevilla on Tuesday.
The French midfielder, who is on loan to the Spanish club from Manchester City, was given his marching orders after an altercation with the England striker, who reacted as if he had been headbutted when the pair squared up to each other following a row.
Both men were shown a yellow card but Nasri had already been booked and so was sent off, although he initially refused to leave the pitch and tried to confront the Leicester player.
Speaking yesterday, Nasri said: "I didn't touch him. I didn't do anything with my head... For me, he is a cheat. If he was a foreign player, English people would say he is a cheat. For me, he is a cheat.
"They were winning 2-0. Play the game like a man. Win it. You are not better than us but you are winning 2-0, you will qualify, so just play the game. You have quality, you are an international player, you don't need to do that."
Vardy issued a curt response to the claims, telling journalists: "I'm not a cheat and I never have been. That’s all I've got to say on the matter."
A Leicester City spokesman said: "The club refutes entirely any allegation that questions the professional integrity of Jamie or any of its players."
However, the forward has previous for over-reacting. "Vardy has been criticised on several occasions for the manner in which he has won penalties - and was sent off for diving, a second bookable offence, during a Premier League match against West Ham United last April - but both Claudio Ranieri and Roy Hodgson, his former managers for Leicester and England respectively, have insisted that the 30-year-old does not cheat," says The Times.
The allegations have prompted a debate at The Independent. Luke Brown argues Vardy "could have cost his club much, much more than three points had he not made the most of Samir Nasri's impetuous jerk of the head.
"There was no shame in his decision to exaggerate the contact, and he should not be castigated for choosing to do so. A failure to exaggerate the contact would have been a failure to capitalise on an advantage."
Not so, says Ian Herbert, who believes Nasri is right to say that if Vardy had not been English, his conduct would have been condemned. "As game-turning devices go, it was, frankly, a disgrace: an act which takes the sheen off Leicester's accomplishment," he says.