Leicester strike late to stun PSV in Europa Conference League quarter-final

The Foxes have reached a European semi-final for the first time.
Leicester strike late to stun PSV in Europa Conference League quarter-final

By Nick Mashiter, PA, Eindhoven

Ricardo Pereira’s dramatic late strike sent gutsy Leicester into the Europa Conference League semi-finals after they stunned PSV.

The defender’s goal with two minutes left completed a brilliant turnaround to seal a 2-1 win on the night in Eindhoven in their quarter-final second leg.

James Maddison had levelled the tie with 13 minutes remaining after Youri Tielemans’ error allowed Eran Zahavi to grab a first-half opener.

The Foxes will face Bodo/Glimt or Roma in the final four having reached the semi-final of a European competition for the first time in their history.

After last week’s 0-0 first-leg draw in Leicester, boss Brendan Rodgers felt PSV would be more open at home and the Foxes found some early joy but were reminded of the hosts’ threat after 14 minutes.

Philipp Max scampered down the left and crossed for the unmarked Mario Gotze to hit a volley which Kasper Schmeichel brilliantly turned over.

It was clear it would be far more open than the first leg and Leicester should have gone ahead two minutes later when Harvey Barnes missed a fine chance.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s pass sent the forward racing towards goal but, with Andre Ramalho for company, he rolled his tame shot a yard wide.

It was to prove costly as, after Schmeichel saved from Joey Veerman, Leicester self-destructed after 27 minutes to gift PSV the lead.

Eran Zahavi scores for PSV
Eran Zahavi opened the scoring for PSV (Peter Dejong/AP)

Tielemans’ poor pass fell straight to Gotze and he darted towards the area before feeding Zahavi. The striker found space and drilled an angled drive across Schmeichel into the corner.

Leicester had been sloppy when it counted most, at both ends, but they were more than equal to PSV, with Tielemans’ mistake the only real difference.

The Foxes remained undaunted and could have levelled after 33 minutes when Maddison’s drive hit Ramalho and looped over Yvon Mvogo, only for Jordan Teze to acrobatically clear off the line.

Chances came and went, with Timothy Castagne heading wide and Maddison firing over as the Foxes continued to prove they would find openings.

With 45 minute to save their European hopes, Rodgers sent on Ademola Lookman and Patson Daka for Barnes and Marc Albrighton at the break as he rolled the dice to reach the last four.

PSV, though, initially looked the more likely to add a second, with Veerman’s low drive fizzing wide, Tielemans presenting a chance to Cody Gakpo and Zahavi heading over.

Leicester celebrate
Leicester celebrated a late winner in Eindhoven (Peter Dejong/AP)

But Leicester spurned their own glorious opening to level just after the hour when Lookman played Daka through and the striker drilled wide from the edge of the area.

Mvogo turned Maddison’s low effort wide soon after and the Foxes survived a huge scare when Ibrahim Sangare, found by Gakpo, held off Castagne but fired over.

Yet Rodgers’ men had been gaining momentum, with Maddison at the heart, and they levelled with 13 minutes left.

Substitute Ayoze Perez battled his way to the byline and showed excellent awareness to pick out Maddison, who swept high past Mvogo from 12 yards.

Tails up, Leicester could sense victory and, after Mvogo denied Perez, they stunned the Philips Stadium with a winner two minutes from time.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall slipped in Lookman and he crossed for Daka, whose shot was parried by Mvogo with the ball running free for Pereira to fire in the rebound and send the Foxes into dreamland.

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