Leicester's Vardy ends goal drought in 2-1 loss at Sevilla

ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 23, 2017 04:00 PM
Leicester's Vardy ends goal drought in 2-1 loss at Sevilla
Leicester's Jamie Vardy, centre, celebrates after he scores a goal during the Champions League round of 16 soccer match between Sevilla and Leicester City at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium in Seville, Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti)

SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Sevilla was unable to capitalize on its dominant performance in a 2-1 Champions League win over Leicester on Wednesday as Jamie Vardy scored a crucial goal — his first of the year — to keep the English champions alive in the Round of 16.

Vardy capped a spirited second half for Leicester in the first leg with a 73rd-minute goal in one of the few chances created by the visitors at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Seville.

Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa scored in each half for Sevilla to leave the Spanish club a draw away from reaching the quarterfinals of the European competition for the first time in nearly 60 years.

"We were far superior, with some 10 clear chances, but we were not able to earn the advantage that we wanted," Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said. "We deserved more."

Only a quarter-hour into the game Correa missed a penalty for the hosts, which are a three-time defending champion in the Europa League but haven't advanced past the last 16 in the Champions League since 1958.

"We suffered," Leicester coach Claudio Ranieri said. "In the end we improved a bit and the goal leaves it open for the return match. That was crucial for us. We know they are favorites but we have played some great games at home in what has been a very strange season for us."

In Wednesday's other Champions League match, Juventus defeated host FC Porto 2-0 with second-half goals by substitutes Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves.

Sarabia opened the scoring with a firm header into the far corner after a cross by Sergio Escudero from the left side, and Correa made up for his missed penalty by adding to the lead from close range after a pass by Stevan Jovetic in the 62nd.

"They had 22 shots or something like that and we knew today was going to be tough and we'd have to ride our luck a couple of times and I was going to have to come up with some saves here and there but everyone deserves great credit for today," said Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who easily stopped Correa's weak penalty shot.

Struggling to stay out of the relegation zone in its Premier League title defense, Leicester scored the important away goal when Vardy got to a low left-side cross by Danny Drinkwater.

"We knew we had to be patient but we also knew we could hurt them if we got through their first press and hit them a bit quicker, and that's exactly what we did," Vardy said. "(Drinkwater) got through and put it on a plate for me and I've managed to slot it in."

Sevilla almost claimed a third goal after an 88th-minute header by Adil Rami struck the crossbar.

"We had several opportunities, we had to score more goals," Jovetic said. "You have to score in every chance you get, especially in a Champions League game like this, otherwise it becomes difficult."

The result kept Sevilla unbeaten in eight games in all competitions, a run of six wins and two draws.

Sampaoli watched from the stands as part of a two-match touchline ban when he was sent off in a group-stage game against Juventus.

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