Leicester held by PSV in frustrating Europa Conference League first leg draw


Leicester squandered the chance to take control of their Europa Conference League quarter-final after drawing 0-0 with PSV.

The Foxes travel to Eindhoven next week without a valuable advantage after a balanced and competitive first leg at the King Power Stadium.

Harvey Barnes hit the bar and Kelechi Iheanacho missed a golden first-half chance to give Leicester a crucial break.

In the end, the Foxes were frustrated in a combative encounter, although they needed Kasper Schmeichel to bail them out early when he saved from Mario Gozte.

Leicester’s last European quarter-final was their 2017 Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid. Then they valiantly went down 2-1 on aggregate after two audacious performances and this time they travel to Eindhoven with the tie delicately laid.

Five years ago they were defiant against football’s elite and, after a disappointing early exit from the Europa League in December, the Foxes are three games away from their first European final.

They face a second team in the Eredivisie but outgoing PSV boss Roger Schmidt, who will be replaced by Ruud Van Nistelrooy this summer, insisted before the match that his team could not match Leicester’s individual talent.

He argued they needed to use their collective ability and the visitors nearly knocked the hosts out after just two minutes.

The Foxes were caught napping on a through ball and Gotze only had Schmeichel to beat, but the goalkeeper – one of only two survivors from the starting line against Atletico – saved well.

Leicester initially failed to settle, with the lively Noni Madueke in the center of PSV’s early threat, but they gradually began to see more of the ball and struggle for some control.

And they should have gone ahead after 20 minutes, only for Iheanacho to miss his chance.

Joey Veerman was shut down by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and he blocked his pass to send Iheanacho clear after passing Andre Ramalho.

The striker only had Yvon Mvogo to beat, but he fired the ball wide.

It at least proved the openings were there for Leicester and Timothy Castagne was next to threaten, but he failed to upset Mvogo.

The Foxes found the space they needed and they were millimeters away from entering the upcoming break.

Again Dewsbury-Hall was the instigator as he charged down the left and clipped the ball for Barnes to trade passes with Iheanacho and smash an angled drive under the bar from 12 yards out.

The Foxes were the aggressors and PSV lacked the imagination to unblock Leicester since Schmeichel’s first duel with Gotze.

The visitors, however, called for a penalty early in the second half when Ricardo Pereira slipped and appeared to foul Cody Gakpo, but referee Ivan Kruzliak was unmoved and there was no VAR to play. examine.

Iheanacho drilled wide just after the hour mark and, as the game wore on, PSV were clearly happy to bring the draw home at Philips Stadium.

They took the sting out of the game and now Leicester have to do it the hard way in Holland.

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