Leicester stun Sevilla as Shakespeare stages another miracle
The Foxes are into the quarter finals of the Champions League alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich
Leicester 2 Sevilla 0 [Leicester win 2-1 on aggregate]
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus... and Leicester.
On a night of high drama at the King Power Stadium, Leicester City - currently 15th in the Premier League - overturned a first-leg deficit to beat Europa League champions and La Liga contenders Sevilla by two goals and progress to the quarter final of the Champions League.
Manchester City will hope to join them this evening when they take on Monaco in the second leg of their Last 16 tie, but for the moment the Foxes are flying the flag for English football in Europe. It's a remarkable achievement for the club, particularly given that they've endured a torrid few months after last season's incredible success that saw them win their first league title.
Struggling in the league and dumped out of the FA Cup by Millwall, Leicester decided to part company with Claudio Ranieri after they lost 2-1 to Sevilla in the first leg of the tie three weeks ago. That decision was greeted in general with shock and anger, but since then the Foxes' form has been transformed and Ranieri is all but forgotten by the fans.
The name now on everyone's lips is Craig Shakespeare, Ranieri's former assistant and the man who has been appointed manager until the end of the season.
The 53-year-old won't have done his chances of extending his appointment any harm with Tuesday night's win, but he was generous in paying tribute to his predecessor. "The performance in the first leg, when Claudio was in charge, gave us the springboard for tonight," said Shakespeare. "We gained more confidence."
Asked how far he believed Leicester could progress in the tournament, he said. "We might just be the surprise team, but we know the quality of teams in there is getting down to the real serious business now."
The quarter-final draw is on Friday and while Leicester will be the club the other seven teams will all want to meet in the last eight, they should be wary of a side once more playing with passion and pace.
Wes Morgan's thigh put Leicester in front on 27 minutes when he won a goalmouth scramble, and nine minutes after the break Marc Albrighton doubled the Foxes advantage with a fierce strike after latching onto a loose ball in the box.
Sevilla strove to get back into the game but Leicester's high-tempo pressing game knocked the Spanish side off their stride and as the game wore so their frustration grew. Tempers reached boiling point on 74 minutes when former Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri was sent off for a clash of heads with Leicester striker Jamie Vardy.
Nasri's dismissal put the Foxes firmly in charge but with ten minutes remaining Kasper Schmeichel - who had saved well from Nasri in the first-half - conceded a penalty in a collision with Vitolo. Sevilla knew a successful spot kick would take the tie into extra-time but the Danish keeper atoned for his error by saving well from Steven N'Zonzi. It was all too much for Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli, who was sent to the stands by officials, but Leicester kept their heads amid the tumult to create another slice of history in what's been an extraordinary 12 months.
"It is a great feeling to help the team progress," said Schmeichel, who also saved a Sevilla penalty in the first leg. "But that is what I'm there for. We have gone out and played more like we did last season and we are reaping the rewards of it now. It was a fantastic night."