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Vardy goal throws Leicester City a lifeline against Sevilla

Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy of Leicester City celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Jamie Vardy’s first Champions League strike gave Leicester a crucial away goal in a 2-1 defeat at Sevilla, giving them a foothold in a tie in which they had trailed 2-0.

Sevilla started at pace and came close to a spectacular breakthrough after only four minutes when Pablo Sarabia and curled an effort beyond the stranded Kasper Schmeichel and saw it brush the top of the net on its way over.

The outstanding Leicester keeper soon had something else to think about as he had to dive to his right to stop a back header from colleague Christian Fuchs.

Claudio Ranieri’s side were struggling to settle and remained on the back foot as more crisp passing from the hosts created another chance, Samir Nasri’s cross deflecting towards goal before Schmeichel clutched it.

Sevilla’s early pressure looked to have paid off after 13 minutes when Wes Morgan’s clumsy challenge on Joaquin Correa saw the referee point to the spot, but Schmeichel produced more heroics, diving to save and hold Correa’s weak penalty.

His stop briefly galvanised the visitors, who produced their first real threat when Marc Albrighton swung in a cross that was just too high for defender Morgan who had made his way forward.

But within moments Sevilla were back on the attack and Schmiechel saved again as Sergio Escudero fired a low effort from the edge of the box.

And after 25 minutes, the hosts had the lead as Sarabia, unmarked, headed home superbly from Escudero’s excellent cross.

Soon after the breakthrough Sevilla came forward again only for Vitolo to send a low shot skimming past the far post after being given far too much time.

The visitors were struggling to keep the ball and, after they had given it away in a dangerous position, Schmeichel pushed Correa’s low shot past the post.

Riyad Mahrez and Vardy were both enduring yet another frustrating match, and Mahrez showed his frustration as a free kick towards the lurking Morgan was easily dealt with.

Leicester then drew the first save of the night from home goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who was right behind Ndidi’s well-hit volley, early in the second half.

Vitolo saw his effort from a tight angle hit the inside of the post and cannon back to safety as Leicester lived dangerously again before Sarabia fired wide moments later.

Claudio Ranieri took off the disappointing Ahmed Musa and replaced him with Demarai Gray as he tried to conjure some threat from his side.

And Gray was involved on the hour as he held the ball up before it broke to Danny Drinkwater, whose deflected effort bounced wide of the post for a corner that came to nothing.

Leicester were 2-0 down after 62 minutes as a dawdling defence from Morgan and Robert Huth allowed Stevan Jovetic to work the ball to Correa, unmarked eight yards out, and he stabbed a fine finish past Schmeichel.

 The goal-scorer was taken off almost immediately to be replaced by Vicente Iborra but the home side continued to press for a third, Jovetic’s low cross from the left flashing across the face of goal with no colleague able to get a touch.

But with 73 minutes on the clock, and out of nothing, Leicester got themselves back in the contest as Drinkwater’s fine low cross from the left was sidefooted high into ther net by Vardy.

That changed the atmosphere, and Vardy was again involved as he chased a ball on the left of the area but steered an attempted cross to close to the goalkeeper before Gray’s curling strike crashed back off a defender on the edge of the Sevilla area.

With time running out, Schmeichel was swiftly off his line to thwart Vitolo as Sevilla sought a late third, but Leicester held the 2-1 scoreline despite Adil Rami’s header clipping the top of the bar late on.

Credit:ESPN staff

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