LEICESTER 0-0 PSV; LEICESTER UNABLE TO SCORE AGAINST PSV AT HOME IN THE FIRST LEG OF THE EUROPA LEAGUE QUATER FINAL.
A cut-throat finisher was all Leicester City were lacking in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) quarter-final. Kelechi Iheanacho spurned a number of chances on the night, leaving the tie wide open prior to the return leg in Eindhoven.
The King Power Stadium played host to a European quarter-final for the first time since 2017, and while PSV don’t hold quite the same pedigree as Atlético Madrid, the 1988 European champions have qualified for continental competition in 48 straight seasons. Forgotten 2014 World Cup final winner Mario Götze gave the ‘Foxes’ an early scare as he latched onto a Joey Veerman flighted through ball in behind the backline, forcing Kasper Schmeichel into action.
Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho, who has only four goals in all competitions in Jamie Vardy’s absence then went agonisingly close, chipping fractionally wide of Yvon Mvogo’s left-hand post. The best chance of the half for the home side fell two minutes before the break, when Iheanacho slipped Harvey Barnes in down the left and he struck the ball wonderfully, only for it to ricochet off the crossbar.
VAR will only be used in the final of the UECL, perhaps to the ‘Boeran’s’ dismay as Cody Gakpo was felled inside the box after cutting inside Ricardo Pereira right after the interval. Despite protestations from Gakpo and the travelling away fans, referee Ivan Kružliak remained unmoved. Iheanacho again found himself with the ball at his feet after a well-timed Wesley Fofana interception, but shot wide once more as his effort skidded past the post.
Leicester now head to the Philips Stadion with the tie on a knife edge, made even harder given the fact PSV are unbeaten at home in the last six in all competitions. The ‘Boeran’ will be hoping next week’s reverse fixture will not be the last in a crazy 18-game European journey across three competitions so far.