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Spirited display falls short, Leicester City knocked out of league cup on penalties

A good performance falls just short

Leicester City v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Quarter-Final Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

A heavily rotated Manchester City side looked, from a distance, no different to the first choice, dominating the early exchanges with their passing and movement. The Foxes barely touched the ball in the first 10 minutes; they could and probably should have been put out the game before it even got going.

Christian Fuchs and Ben Hamer in particular failed to cover themselves in glory, running into each other on the edge of the box, leaving an empty net. Fortunately, a good block from Harry Maguire, combined with a bad miss on the follow up kept the scores level.

The keeper was forced into action again, saving a good shot from Silva, but was then nearly caught out by a Gundogan chip. Young defender Adarabioyo headed wide from the corner.

Leicester did eventually come into the game, with a good stretch of possession, mostly in the visitors’ half, culminating in a good chance for Harry Maguire from a 25th minute corner.

Just a minute later, however, they were behind. A mazy run from Gundogan sliced neatly through the defence. He then picked out Bernardo Silva in the box, who made no mistake with a left footed finish past Hamer.

Man City continued to run the game, but the next good chance fell to their former player Kelechi Iheanacho. After a good break from Ben Chilwell, the striker found the ball at his feet inside the area, but his first time shot didn't have the power to beat the keeper.

The Foxes’ pressing, particularly of Bravo, paid off with a few more chances as the half wore on, but unfortunately for Leicester, most fell to Iheanacho, who was not having his best day and the half ended at 1-0.

With no changes for either side, the 2nd began in a similar vein; Man City had the best of possession, but The Foxe’s frustration continued, with the clearest chances falling to Maguire and Chilwell from Christian Fuchs throws.

Over the next few minutes, Leicester’s passing just wasn’t good enough to take advantage of three good breaks, and so on 55 minutes Puel introduced the cavalry, bringing Vardy and Mahrez into the game.

The change in the game was obvious and immediate, with the home side surging forward and the visitors content to wait for the opportunity to counter.

Unfortunately, it turns out they’re good at that too, and both sides looked equally dangerous, though neither could turn it into clear cut chances.

With his side playing well but still chasing the game, Puel made his final roll of the dice, bringing on Demarai Gray with 20 minutes left to play.

As a result of the change or not, Mahrez found himself getting more and more space down the right, creating too good chances, which the team still couldn’t quite convert.

In the 89th minute, Gray put a tempting ball along the 6 yard box, which a stretching Vardy just couldn’t quite reach. Still there was hope though, as 8 minutes of stoppage time were added.

The Foxes kept going and were eventually rewarded with a penalty after Gray was brought down by Kyle Walker, although the contact seemed minimal.

Nonetheless, the Foxes’ man man Jamie Vardy stepped upend confidently powered it into the bottom corner, taking us into extra time.

Leicester hearts briefly stopped five minutes in, as Kyle Walker went down in the box, over to be booked for diving.

The Foxes kept up their charge though, and looked a threat particularly through Riyad Mahrez, as ever. The Algerian came close to creating great chances for Vardy, Maguire, Gray and himself, but again they came up just short.

Vardy kept running though and nearly forced Bravo into an embarrassing mistake. He caught the keep before he get the ball away, but his deflection bounced wide of the goal. The half ended with Man City’s first shot on goal in a long time as Yaya Toure forced a good save from a free kick.

The hard working Foxes kept up their attack throughout the 2nd extra period, always looking the more likely side to score, including a moment of magic from Harry Maguire, who carried the ball from box to box before finding Vardy, whose shot was saved.

Ultimately though, the Foxes simply couldn’t find the net from over 130 minutes of open play and the game was decided by penalties.

The first were put away easily, until it all suddenly unraveled, Vardy and Mahrez missing consecutive kicks to put the Foxes out.