Leicester City was outplayed in the first half of their Champions league tie against Sevilla FC of Spain. Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa either side of the both halves and a consolidation from Jamie Vardy has given the foxes hope as they head back with an away goal to the King Power Stadium.
Sevilla FC manager Jorge Sampaoli faced suspension and had to watch the game from the stands but the domination of his team in the first half showed that he wasn’t at the dugout physically but his presence was felt. Claudio Ranieri ushered out the best team possible for this game and the tinker man managed to contain a Sevilla team that has vast experience playing in Europe having won the Uefa Europa league on three successive occasions (2014-16).
Sevilla are contenders for the Spanish la liga lying third on the log with three points below leaders Real Madrid - a team with a game in hand. The acquisition of Samir Nasri has so far provided the team with the needed creativity in the final third as the Manchester loanee has combined perfectly with Steven Nzonzi and Pablo Sarabia connecting beautifully with Vitolo upfront. It is no surprise that the team finally ditched finishing third in the group stage of the Champions league and competing for the Europa league title and finally making a stance on winning the Uefa Champions league.
Leicester City is on the path to becoming the first defending champions of the English Premier league to be relegated. Claudio Ranieri and his team achieved the impossible in the 2015/16 season but the team currently sits at 17th place with 21 points and just a point above the relegation zone. The Champions league might provide the safest route to European football for Leicester City if they can replicate what they achieved domestically on the European front.
Champions League football has been good and bad for Leicester City
After Leicester City won the English Premier league they automatically qualified for the Uefa Champions league group stage and for the first time the team was tasked with competing in four competitions for a football season. This has undoubtedly cost the team as there has been divided attention since the taste of European football came to the King Power Stadium.
Leicester City topped a group that also had FC Copenhagen, FC Porto and Club Brugge when it was struggling to gain points from teams that they easily dismantled in the 2015/16 campaign. Jamie Vardy has so far scored eight goals in all competitions considering he was the team’s top scorer last season, this shows that divided attention on other competitions has not helped their target man get the team to its deserved place.
If Claudio Ranieri does not get his axes together and start getting points at a crucial time in the season, then Leicester City might go back to playing in the English Football League Championship.
In the other game, Juventus beat FC Porto by two away goals thanks to Pjaca and Daniel Alves. This gives the Turin side enough confidence heading into the second leg at the Juventus Stadium.
Leicester City resumes domestic duties on Monday February 27 against league and top four contenders Liverpool. Sevilla FC also returns to Spanish football on the road at Real Betis on Sunday February 26.