Europa Conference League: Brendan confident of Leichester reaching semi-finals

Europa Conference League: Brendan confident of Leichester reaching semi-finals

Europa Conference League: Brendan confident of Leichester reaching semi-finals
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Despite a stalemate in the first leg against PSV, Brendan Rodgers is hopeful that Leicester can reach the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

The disgruntled Foxes were unable to build a lead ahead of the quarter-final second leg in Holland next week.

In the first half, Harvey Barnes hit the crossbar and Kelechi Iheanacho chipped wide when clean through.

PSV had their chances, with Kasper Schmeichel save superbly from Mario Gotze before Ricardo Pereira clipped Cody Gakpo in the area, allowing the Foxes to escape without penalty. With no VAR available, referee Ivan Kruzlak disregarded the visitors’ penalty demands.

Despite Leicester’s disappointment, Rodgers remains confident that his team has what it takes to advance.

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‘We have shown enough and seen enough to know we can go there and win,’ he said.

‘However it was going to be, it was always going to be tight. You’d love to win it, but it wasn’t to be.

‘We showed our resilience defensively and we’ll go there with enough hope that they’ll probably open up a bit more, which will give us a bit more space.

‘It’s finely balanced, I thought it was a good game. PSV were a little bit more closed than normal, so the space was limited, but apart from their chance early on we defended quite well.

‘We had the two best chances in the game. There weren’t too many chances but it’s what you expect at this time in the competition.

‘With a little bit more finesse and precision in our passing then we might have been able to open the scoring. We’re still in a good place.’

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Leicester held on additional two minutes after Gotze escaped a sluggish defence and Schmeichel denied him.

After Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall regained the ball in midfield, the Foxes gradually gained control of the game, and Iheanacho should have given them the lead when he blasted wide with just Yvon Mvogo to beat.

Leicester were encouraged by the opportunity, but Timothy Castagne’s attempt was not good enough to concern Mvogo.

After exchanging passes with Iheanacho, Barnes came near a minute before the interval, crashing a shot off the underside of the bar.

The Foxes came the closest and struggled to create after the interval, with Iheanacho’s long-range drive their best effort.

When Pereira slid and clipped Gakpo early in the second half, PSV demanded a penalty, but their pleas were ignored due to the lack of VAR.

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‘I’ve seen it, it was a clear penalty,’ remarked boss Roger Schmidt. I can’t complain because I’m not a huge fan of the VAR. It was a penalty, but officials make mistakes all the time in football.

‘We accept it and we have to focus on next week. We played a really good game. We had to suffer sometimes, but we played against a really good opponent.

‘In total, I’m very happy with the performance. In the first half we had good ball wins, but in the transitions we weren’t quick enough to be available for forward passes.’

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