Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has spoken of the “relief” the team felt after they reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Goals from club captain Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton saw Leicester to a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday, with Schmeichel making a key penalty save on the night as they sealed a 3-2 aggregate win over Sevilla following a 2-1 first-leg loss in Spain.
An incident-packed match saw Sevilla’s Samir Nasri sent off after clashing with Jamie Vardy before Schmeichel saved Steven N’Zonzi’s penalty and the visitors’ manager Jorge Sampaoli sent to the stands.
“There was so much relief when the final whistle went,” Schmeichel told Leicester’s website.
“It was an amazing evening, I’m proud of all the boys. The fans were absolutely magnificent and it was a great atmosphere,” he added.
Leicester, who had been 5,000/1 outsiders, stunned he world of football by winning the Premier League last season.
But a collapse in form this term left them facing the prospect of relegation from the English top and led the Midlands club to sack manager Claudio Ranieri.
However, Tuesday’s win was their third in a row since Craig Shakespeare stepped up from his previous role as Ranieri’s assistant.
Now Leicester could face holders Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus in the last eight.
Not that Schmeichel, the son of former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter, was overly concerned by Leicester’s next European opponent after giving away a second-half penalty for a foul on Vitolo.
But he made amends by saving Nzonzi’s poor spot-kick — his second penalty save of the tie after he denied Joaquin Correa in Spain.
“I can’t see how it’s a penalty but it was given and you have to move on and try to save it,” he said. “It (the clean sheet) is a testament to the boys, we played really well in the first half and it was always going to be tough to keep that intensity.
“We should have shut he game out but it was a great performance all round.”
Morgan opened the scoring in the 27th minute before Albrighton added a second goal nine minutes into the second half.
England striker Vardy missed several chances to finish the game but an elated Morgan was delighted by Leicester’s achievement in getting through to the quarter-finals.
“Incredible, I can’t quite believe it,” he told BT Sport. “We’re newcomers in the Champions League, we didn’t expect to get this far and here we are.
“I’m not sure this is ever going to happen again, but we did it.
“We did it and we proved a lot of people wrong. It was a big game for us and a big night for everyone involved with Leicester and we’ve pulled off the impossible again.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Women’s World Cup, Euro 2024 & Gold Cup
The New Home of MLS
- Price: $14.99/mo. for MLS Season Pass
- Watch every MLS game including playoffs & Leagues Cup
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $9.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $12.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & FA Cup
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & Brasileirāo
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season