Leicester City put up a fight on Tuesday night during their quarter final clash against Atletico Madrid but could not overcome Diego Simeone’s side
Atletico went into the game with a 1-0 lead after beating Leicester City at the Vicente Calderon Stadium and Simeone’s side were always going to be overwhelming favourites to progress to the next round.
Things started off badly for the Foxes when Saul Niguez opened the scoring with a sublime header in the 26th minute – gifting Atletico a crucial away goal in the process. Despite this Leicester continued to fight and were rewarded when Jamie Vardy levelled the scores in the 61st minute.
Leicester now needed two goals to progress and despite their best efforts – pouring men forward in search of another goal – Leicester could not find a way past Simeone’s men once more and the dream was finally over.
Atletico have now progressed to the semi-finals of the competition and with Leicester City’s exit, there are no more teams from the English Premier League left in the competition. We take a look at the key talking points from the match.
Fighting Foxes can hold their heads high
The manner of Leicester City’s exit means that Craig Shakespeare’s side can have no regrets or loss of pride, as the Foxes fought for their place amongst Europe’s elite until the very end of the contest last night.
It is easy for heads to drop against such esteemed opposition and after Saul Niguez’s goal, many felt the tie was already over. That wasn’t the case with Leicester’s players, however, who fought tooth and nail until the very end.
Leicester threw men forward and looked to attack at every opportunity but in the end they simply could not break down an Atletico Madrid defense that every team in the world has trouble against.
Leicester’s First #UCL Appearance
✅ 5 Wins
✅ 11 ⚽️
💪 Unbeaten at the King Power.
👍 Best performing 🇬🇧team.
Thanks for the memories! pic.twitter.com/QrX9sG0DuL
— GeniusFootball (@GeniusFootball) April 19, 2017
Atletico’s experience counts on the day
Atletico Madrid are now basically veterans of this competition and have been in the knockout stages of the competition for the last four seasons running. Given that it was Leicester’s first outing in the Champions League, it was always going to be an uphill task against a side that have finished runners up twice in the last two years.
Atletico showed Leicester the value of experience last night. Despite Leicester pouring forward with wave after wave of attacks, Atletico looked calm and resilient in the face of the onslaught and never really looked like they would give up their advantage.
However, there was a heartwarming moment at the end when the Atletico fans recognised the effort put in by the Leicester players.
Champions League fixtures can often get ugly for fans as some get carried away and show hostility to away fans but the video below is proof of how football can throw up some beautiful moments between rival fans as well.
In contrast to questionable behaviour in Madrid last week, Atletico fans chant ‘Leicester’ tonight in appreciation pic.twitter.com/S3comXqaD4
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) April 18, 2017
Diego Simeone is a man on a mission
Diego Simeone has done an absolutely incredible job with this Atletico Madrid side. Despite having a pittance to spend compared to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG and the English giants, Simeone has consistently got results for his team.
The Argentine famously led Atletico Madrid to a La Liga title but it is clear that he is still hurting from the two Champions League final losses that his side had to endure. Simeone wants that trophy badly and his passion on the sidelines in these ties is a small indicator of just how badly he does.
Elsewhere… Atletico number of European Cup semis before Simeone took over – 1 back in 1976. Now three in last four years.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) April 18, 2017
Wes Morgan the warrior
Wes Morgan was making his return to the Leicester side after a 7 game absence and it is only expected that a player would be rusty after such a lengthy spell on the sidelines and it looked for all the world like Morgan was exactly that in the opening stages.
A poor back pass in the opening minutes almost led to disaster but luckily for Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel was able to clear the ball before the onrushing Antoine Griezmann latched on to it and broke Leicester hearts.
Despite the shaky start, Morgan overcame the nerves to put in a fine performance for Leicester at the back. The 33-year old was a rock, constantly throwing himself into tackles and marshalling the defense.
Unfortunately for Morgan, an injury led to a forced withdrawal but the Leicester man is another one who can hold his head high after that performance, which most Foxes fans won’t forget for years to come.
Win, lose or draw, what an incredible effort by @Wes5L1nk and Leicester City to get to the UCL quarter finals! ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
— Travis Morgan (@tmorganMB) April 18, 2017
Ndidi the heir to Kante
Wilfried Ndidi showcased his talent last night in a hugely impressive performance. Ndidi was bought as a replacement for Kante and as time has progressed, the midfielder looked exactly that. Ndidi was calm in possession, neat with his passing and showed the boundless energy that Kante became famous for.
The midfielder also made several key tackles and showed his range of passing. Leicester may have lost the best central midfielder in the Premier League at the start of this season but they have found a replacement who looks like he could grow into one of the best in no time.