Leicester City 1-1 Atlético Madrid (agg 1-2): Champions League quarter-final – as it happened

Leicester’s European dream is over, as resolute Atlético march on to the semis.

FULL TIME: Leicester City 1-1 Atletico Madrid (agg 1-2)

Vardy forces another corner down the left. Schmeichel comes up for that one too. Godin clears, allowing Griezmann to have a wild hack at an empty net from distance. But it’s never going in; Alberto Moreno is not alone. And that’s that! Leicester City’s European dream is over. But the mood at the King Power is celebratory. As it should be. Leicester put in a fine second-half performance tonight, matching one of the top teams in Europe over the past few years blow for blow. It’s a fitting end to one hell of a journey: a Premier League title followed by a European Cup quarter-final appearance is some achievement. All of which raises the question: does anybody fancy another go? You wouldn’t put anything past Leicester City.

Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin, Gabi, Saul Niguez, Stefan Savic, Jose Gimenez and Lucas Hernandez throw their shirts to the Atletico fans.
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin, Gabi, Saul Niguez, Stefan Savic, Jose Gimenez and Lucas Hernandez throw their shirts to the Atletico fans. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian
Ulloa and Maria Gimenez help a dejeceted Vardy up.
Ulloa and Maria Gimenez help a dejeceted Vardy up. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images


90 min +3: Mahrez slips a ball down the right for Albrighton, who reaches the byline and chips into the middle. Chilwell is waiting to slam home but Savic gets in the way and concedes a corner. Schmeichel comes up for it, and causes a little confusion, but the ball ends up in the arms of Oblak.

90 min +2: Fuchs launches long. Ulloa flicks on and nearly finds Vardy in the Atletico box, but Godin reads well and hooks clear.

90 min +1: Griezmann bursts down the inside-left but, upon reaching the Leicester box, can’t find Torres with a low ball inside.

90 min: There will be four added minutes.

89 min: Atletico run down the clock with some clever keep-ball in the midfield. Time is not Leicester’s friend.

Saul Niguez protects the ball from Ben Chilwell.
Saul Niguez protects the ball from Ben Chilwell. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


88 min: Ndidi tees up Drinkwater for a shot from 20 yards, but it’s blocked at source. Atletico tear up the other end, Lucas Hernandez nearly curling one into the top left. Schmiechel gathers.

87 min: Griezmann scampers down the middle of the park and, with Leicester backtracking in panic and light on numbers, should really release Torres on goal with a little flick down the inside right. But he hogs the ball and the chance is gone.

86 min: Chilwell, who has been excellent since coming on at half time, goes on a rococo ramble down the left. He nearly opens Atletico up, but Savic comes across to cover.

85 min: Torres threatens to break clear down the left but Simpson holds him up well.

84 min: Morgan shakes his head sadly as he concedes defeat: on comes Amartey in his stead.

Morgan walks off with an injury.
Morgan walks off with an injury. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


83 min: Morgan has tweaked something while stretching for a ball he was never meant to get. He wants to continue, but he palpably can’t. He can hardly walk.

81 min: Torres, quarterbacking from deep, launches long, long, long. Griezmann is free! But suddenly Schmeichel appears from nowhere, and 40 yards from his own goal beats the striker to a header and the danger is gone. The old man will have enjoyed watching that. World-class gadding about.

80 min: A long throw into the Atletico box from the right wing. Ulloa wins a header but there’s nobody there to latch onto the knockdown. Oblak gathers.

79 min: Chilwell, brimful of promise, romps down the left and earns a corner. Godin clears the set piece. Leicester have yet to give this up, and don’t Atletico know it.

78 min: Morgan bundles Torres to the ground out on the left. Koke tries to catch out Schmeichel, whipping the free kick towards the top left, but the keeper’s read it.

77 min: But Leicester keep on coming. The relentless Albrighton makes good down the right and curls one towards the near post for Ulloa. But Oblak rises high to pluck the ball from the sky under pressure. On the touchline, an irate Diego Simeone does the impotent jig o’the manager.

76 min: After an interminable wait, Mahrez looks to whip-crack one around the Atletico wall and into the top left. It’s too high.

Mahrez whpis in the free-kick.
Mahrez whpis in the free-kick. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images


75 min: Mahrez causes enough bother in front of the Atletico box to panic Godin into a rash bodycheck. A free kick, just outside the D. Mahrez has that look in his eye. Fuchs fancies a dig too.

74 min: Atletico make their last change: Angel Correa comes on for Filipe Luis.

72 min: Lucas Hernandez wheechs down the left, reaches the byline, but can’t find Griezmann or Torres with his cutback. Leicester flood up the other end. Albrighton, out on the right, whips low towards Vardy, who channels his inner Ibrahimovic and attempts to score with a backflick from the edge of the box. Straight into Oblak’s arms, but full marks for ambition.

71 min: Ndidi’s miskick was nevertheless Leicester’s 13th attempt on goal in this second half. Atletico haven’t mustered one yet. This is a magnificent response by Leicester, who at the very worst won’t have died wondering.

69 min: Atletico swap Carrasco for Torres. And they’re beginning to panic. Albrighton scoops a ball into their area from the right. It pinballs about awhile, and should be forced home by Ndidi from ten yards. But the Leicester midfielder shanks his shot wide left.

68 min: Another vital block by an Atletico shirt! Mahrez bustles down the inside-right channel and pulls one back for Vardy on the penalty spot. Vardy bashes towards the top right, but Savic gets in the road. What an intervention!

67 min: The Atletico passes aren’t quite sticking up front at the moment. Koke tries to release Griezmann with a chip down the left, but it harmlessly bumbles out of play for a goal kick.

65 min: Chilwell is causing Atletico all sorts of bother down the left. He bombs down the left and earns a throw. Mahrez launches it long. Morgan wins a header, and the ball drops to Ulloa, whose shot from six yards must go in ... but it’s deflected wide by Lucas Hernandez’s vital diving block. What a stop! The resulting corner leads to nowt, but this is much better from Leicester. Atletico aren’t rocking, not yet, but they are looking a little worried all of a sudden!

Ulloa shoots.
Ulloa shoots. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters


63 min: Well that came out of nothing! And now Leicester are first to everything in the middle of the park. The King Power is bouncing!

GOAL! Leicester City 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Vardy 61); agg 1-2

Albrighton hooks one into the area from the right. It finds Chilwell clear, ten yards out at the far post. Chilwell bangs a shot goalwards. It’s blocked by a flying Savic, but deflects right towards Vardy, who roofs it home from close range! They just need two now! They couldn’t, could they?!

Vardy scores the equaliser.
Vardy scores the equaliser. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
And celebrates.
And celebrates. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


59 min: A few boos ring around the stadium as Saul Niguez goes down, seemingly for nothing. But replays show Mahrez had planted his studs in his trouser arrangement as the pair slid across the turf. Ooyah! Oof! Unintentional, but still. Ooyah!


57 min: Chilwell looks a prospect all right. He finds a minuscule amount of space down the left wing and floats a superb cross towards Ulloa on the edge of the area. Ulloa should spin on the dropping ball and run clear, but he misjudges the flight and the chance is gone.

55 min: Atletico substitute Juanfran for Lucas Hernandez. That switch was made in the professional clock-bothering style, designed to check the slight momentum Leicester were building for a couple of minutes back there.

52 min: Chilwell looks very lively. Two efforts on goal in 60 seconds or so. First a blooter of a looping volley which only just clears the crossbar, then a header from a deep Albrighton cross which was never troubling the goal. He’s bringing the verve Leicester desperately need tonight.

50 min: Atletico come so close to a second. Griezmann tears past Fuchs as if he wasn’t there, and breaks into the box on the right. He reaches the right-hand edge of the six-yard box but instead of dinking past Schmeichel, squares for Carrasco. But there’s too much speed on the pass. Carrasco, never getting there, goes over under light pressure from behind by Albrighton. He wants a penalty, but is never getting one.

49 min: Saul really should send Griezmann clear down the inside-left channel but inexplicably delays the pass and eventually loses possession. Leicester go up the other end through Chilwell on the left. The young full-back’s cross, meant for Ulloa, is cleared by Godin.

Chilwell sends one in.
Chilwell sends one in. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images


47 min: Leicester start the half hot, Mahrez’s deep cross from the left finding Albrighton coming in from the other wing. Albrighton’s decent first-time shot is deflected out for a corner, from which nothing comes. But that’s a lot better already.

And we’re off again! Leicester have made two changes, removing Benalouane and Okazaki and replacing them with Chilwell and Ulloa. They’ll go three at the back with Albrighton and Chilwell as galloping wing backs. Tinkerman Shakespeare! Penny for Claudio’s thoughts. “If Leicester do this, I’m backing Sergio for the Impregnable Quadrilateral of Golf,” writes cross-pollination’s Simon McMahon.

Half-time reading: That David Squires is a genius is not exactly breaking news. But his offering today was particularly wonderful, even by his ludicrously high standards. Clickety click, just in case you missed it.


HALF TIME: Leicester City 0-1 Atletico Madrid (agg 0-2)

The referee blows up for half time a couple of seconds before the 45 minutes are up. Leicester will be happy to get off the park and regroup. They were looking decent until the goal, but have been led a bit of a merry dance since, and were very fortunate not to have conceded a penalty that would surely have put this tie to bed. As it stands, they need three second-half goals to progress.

Craig Shakespeare needs a plan for the second half.
Craig Shakespeare needs a plan for the second half. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters


43 min: Seems the tactic of Delapping one into the mixer doesn’t cut it against this Atletico defence. Meanwhile, they’ve just shown a replay of Schmeichel’s tackle on Carrasco. He took the players legs out. It should have been a penalty kick. Leicester have gotten away with a big one there.

Saul Niguez heads clear from Wes Morgan and Jamie Vardy.
Saul Niguez heads clear from Wes Morgan and Jamie Vardy. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


42 min: Vardy, zipping after a Morgan chip down the right, earns a throw deep in Atletico territory. A chance for Fuchs to Delap one into the mixer.

40 min: Carrasco launches a solo bid for glory down the right wing. He nearly dribbles the ball all the way into the net, but is stopped on the corner of the six-yard box by Schmeichel’s slide tackle. The keeper may or may not be highly irritated that none of his colleagues bothered to make a serious challenge on the Atletico interloper.


38 min: This has suddenly turned into a possession exhibition by Atletico. They spend the best part of two minutes stroking the ball hither and yon, pinging it between Leicester’s players with almost contemptuous ease. The pressure is eventually lifted when Filipe Luis blooters a witless shot high into the stand behind Schmeichel’s goal from 25 yards.

36 min: For a split second back there, the home support rediscovered their voice as Mahrez sent the ball along its arc. But the atmosphere has understandably taken a bit of a downturn since the goal.

34 min: Vardy skedaddles down the left, his persistence earning a corner. But Saul Niguez is everywhere right now. He heads clear. Leicester come back at Atletico, and the ball drops from high towards Mahrez, on the right-hand edge of the D. He larrups a volley goalwards, but it’s straight at Oblak and not particularly powerful.

Mahrez shoots.
Mahrez shoots. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


32 min: Carrasco strides down the inside-left channel and cuts one back for Saul Niguez, who whips a vicious curler from distance towards the top right. Schmeichel does very well to read it, never mind get both hands on it.

30 min: Atletico are, rather unsurprisingly, happy to sit back and let Leicester ping it around the middle. When the ball’s finally shuttled forward, they intercept it, then try to launch a counter. This could become a pattern, no?

28 min: That’s taken the wind out of the King Power sails. It takes a couple of minutes for the home fans to find their voice again. No wonder: Leicester were beginning to establish a foothold in the game, and had launched a couple of meaningful attacks. But now look.

The Atletico supporters celebrate after that Saul Niguez goal.
The Atletico supporters celebrate after that Saul Niguez goal. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


GOAL! Leicester City 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Saul Niguez 26); agg 0-2

And how costly! Carrasco nearly releases Griezmann down the middle. Morgan slides in to intercept. Fine tackle. But the ball only goes wide left to Filipe Luis, who curls a delicious deep cross into the Leicester area. Saul is coming in from the other flank, and plants a stunning downwards header across Schmeichel and into the bottom left. What a header! But now the English champions need three goals to progress. Against this Atletico defence.

Niguez scores the opener.
Niguez scores the opener. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
And celebrates.
And celebrates. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


25 min: This wasn’t particularly good from Mahrez, either. He latches onto a Morgan header down the middle. Filipe Luis’s attempt to intercept is appalling, allowing Mahrez to tear towards the Atletico box. He’s only got Godin ahead of him, and Vardy to his right! Bue he delays the pass too long, pushes Vardy too far wide, and he’s offside to boot. What a waste of a great chance.

24 min: Mahrez curls it carefully into the strong and loving arms of Oblak. That was dreadful.

23 min: Mahrez dribbles down the right wing and is upended by a backtracking Griezmann. A free kick in a very dangerous position, and a chance for Leicester to load the box.

Riyad Mahrez takes on Filipe Luis before being fouled by Antoine Griezmann.
Riyad Mahrez takes on Filipe Luis before being fouled by Antoine Griezmann. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


21 min: Leicester come straight back at Atletico, though! Vardy scoots down the inside-left channel, reaches the byline, and pulls the ball back for Okazaki, romping into the area, level with the left-hand post. Okazaki has to meet it first time, and whips his shot high and wide left from 12 yards. But that was as close as Leicester have come so far!

20 min: ... it’s a free kick to Atletico, Benalouane having been a clumsy bugger during an impromptu game of head tennis.

19 min: Leicester press Atletico back, the result of a free kick in the middle of the park flung into the mixer. Fuchs whips a cross in from the left, forcing Gimenez to eyebrow the ball out for a corner on the right. Bedlam at the King Power! The corner’s taken, and...

17 min: Atletico are looking lively in attack. Koke, deep on the right, rolls a sliderule pass along the flank with a view to releasing Juanfran on the overlap. Leicester are very fortunate he overcooks it. Goal kick. But on the touchline, there’s applause from Simeone.

16 min: Ndidi suddenly finds himself in a lot of space, 30 yards from goal. He’s got Vardy ahead of him, on the edge of the box, plus an option to shoot. But he’s flustered, miscalculating the amount of time he’s been granted, and lets the ball clank off his boot and harmlessly through to Oblak.

14 min: Griezmann and Carrasco combine down the right this time. Carrasco gets a yard on Morgan and whips a low ball into the area. If Koke had longer toenails, he’d be running that in. But it evades him. Leicester breathe again. But perhaps too ostentatiously, because within seconds Atletico are coming straight back at them, Saul sending a poor shot low and wide right from 20 yards. The visitors are getting into this now.

12 min: Atletico show in attack for the first time. Griezmann drops deep and slides a pass wide left to Carrasco, who cuts a low one straight back towards the penalty spot. Griezmann is rushing in to meet it, forcing Simpson to slide, intercept, and concede a corner. The set piece is confidently headed clear by Drinkwater. But a sudden reminder that an away goal would set Leicester quite the three-goal poser against Simeone’s defence.

Jan Oblak claims the ball.
Jan Oblak claims the ball. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian

10 min: Okazaki is very busy early doors. He bustles in from the right, linking well with Mahrez. The ball finds the feet of Albrighton, on the edge of the D. He shoots, but his effort balloons off an Atletico leg and into the arms of Oblak.


8 min: Okazaki and Albrighton combine well down the left. The former pulls a ball back for the latter, who chips down the channel and very nearly finds Vardy, zipping into the Atletico area. But there’s too much juice on the ball, and it’s gathered easily by Oblak.

Diego Godin keeps track of Jamie Vardy.
Diego Godin keeps track of Jamie Vardy. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


6 min: A lot of Leicester possession in the middle of the park. Atletico are happy to sit back. Eventually Fuchs, on the left, gets fed up and loops a cross into the box. It’s a hopeful one, and Okazaki has no chance against Godin.

4 min: Mahrez lumps it straight down the middle in the Charles Reep style. A proper 1980s style hoof. Vardy scampers after it like a good boy, and very nearly reaches it, but Juanfran shepherds the ball out of play. If the pitch were only a couple of feet longer, Vardy could have nicked that.

2 min: It’s intense. And rather shapeless so far. The first display of skill comes from Schmeichel, who drops a shoulder to evade the pressing of Griezmann while dealing with a Benalouane backpass. Ole!

Pennants are exchanged. Handshakes. A last squeeze of water from a bottle. And we’re off! Atletico get the ball rolling. They launch it long, and lose it within five seconds. What an atmosphere. Cum on Feel the Noize still a top pop favourite 44 years on.

The teams are out! It doesn’t really need saying, but there’s a storming atmosphere at the King Power Stadium tonight. The stands a swirl of glitter, blue, silver and gold flags fluttering in the breeze. Leicester will play in their trademark blue shirts, while Atletico sport their famous red and white stripes.

The Leicester City fans wave blue, silver and gold flags before the start.
The Leicester City fans wave blue, silver and gold flags before the start. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


A quick reminder of the state of play. Leicester lost the first leg to a solitary Antoine Grizemann penalty. No away goal, so only a 1-0 home win can force this quarter-final into extra time tonight. Should that happen, and penalties loom, Atletico may get a little fidgety: they’ve only won two of their six penalty shoot-outs in European competition. And the last one they contested lost them last year’s final.

Craig Shakespeare speaks! “Wes Morgan is ready, a big bonus for us. He came through training. We made sure there was no reaction this morning, and he’s ready to go. We have to be respectful of the opposition. They’re a terrific side, we start as underdogs. But we’ve been underdogs before, we enjoy it. We know the task ahead. If we’re on the front foot, and we deny them the space, and do what we’re good at, hopefully we can be effective. The bookies have got it wrong occasionally, some team were 5,000-1 last season!”

Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez warm up before the match. Both start tonight.
Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez warm up before the match. Both start tonight. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


Pretty much the same line-ups from last week’s game at the Vicente Calderon. Leicester make one change, welcoming back Wes Morgan, who replaces the suspended Robert Huth. Atlético meanwhile relegate striker Fernando Torres to the bench, with Jose Maria Gimenez stepping up into a defensive screening role. Diego Simeone looking to preserve his side’s lead, who’d have thought it?

Incidentally, Wilfred Ndidi, Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy are all a booking away from a ban. Gimenez is the only player in red and white worrying about a possible semi-final suspension.


Tonight's teams

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki, Mahrez, Vardy.
Subs: Zieler, Chilwell, Musa, King, Amartey, Gray, Ulloa.

Atlético Madrid: Oblak, Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Gimenez, Filipe Luis, Gabi, Koke, Saul Niguez, Carrasco, Griezmann.
Subs: Moya, Torres, Correa, Lucas Hernandez, Gameiro, Thomas, Gaitan.

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

The scene is set at The King Power Stadium.
The scene is set at The King Power Stadium. Photograph: Jim Powell for the Guardian


♫ Die Meister ♭ Die Besten ♪ Les grandes équipes ♫ The champions ♪ ♫

Leicester City, champions of England, are doing the Premier League proud. Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City have fallen miserably by the wayside, but the Foxes have prowled on, first under title-winning hero Claudio Ranieri, now with regeneration expert Craig Shakespeare. And here they are: a mere 90 minutes away from the semi-finals of the European Cup!

In the road: Atlético Madrid. Hot damn! Because it’s Atlético who have scuppered Leicester’s hopes in two of their three previous European campaigns to date, knocking them out of the first round of the 1961-62 Cup Winners’ Cup and the 1997-98 Uefa Cup. Here’s a selected list of Leicester players historically disappointed by Atlético: Gordon Banks, Frank McLintock, Ken Keyworth, Colin Appleton, Neil Lennon, Muzzy Izzet, Steve Walsh, Emile Heskey. Throw in managers Matt Gillies and Martin O’Neill, and that’s not such a bad roll call, eh.

Atlético’s recent history also deals Leicester blow after blow. Atlético were Champions League runners-up last year; they’ve won ten and drawn five of their last 21 away games in this competition; their six defeats in those 21 games have all been by a single-goal margin; they’ve won their last 16 European ties in which they’ve won the first leg at home; and they’re unbeaten in their last five matches against Premier League opposition, home and away, having last faced the English when sorting out Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the 2013-14 semis.

Leicester could become dispirited by all that. But dreams are made of this. Manchester United, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Chelsea all had to get past the quarters for the first time at some point in their history as well. The in-form Atlético - five wins in their last six, Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro, Koke, all that - represent one hell of a hurdle. Clear it, though, and Leicester are three matches from glory. Three matches from (although in fairness they’ve almost certainly already achieved this) immortality. Is it on? It’s...

... ah, let’s not tempt fate. Then again, they thought the impossible couldn’t happen last season, too. It’s on! It could be on. And if not, god speed Atlético, who will feel they deserve a break in this competition as well. Here’s hoping for a classic. Kick off is at 7.45pm at the King Power in Leicester, 8.45pm over in Madrid.