Leicester City 2, Sevilla 0 (aggregate 3-2)
Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare admits he is relishing facing a European giant after keeping their Champions League fairytale alive with a famous victory over Sevilla tonight.
Goals in each half from captain Wes Morgan and winger Marc Albrighton saw the Foxes overcome their first-leg deficit and reach the quarter-finals on their debut in the competition.
England’s resurgent champions were indebted to a heroic display from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who saved a penalty, and were helped by Samir Nasri’s late red card reducing the visitors to 10 men.
Leicester, who were playing the third tier just eight years ago, now join the likes of real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus in the draw for the last eight on Friday.
“It’ll be nice to pit our wits against somebody else. We know we deserve to be there. We’ve just knocked out one of the best teams in Europe, so as a club we can be immensely proud,” said Shakespeare, who has won all three games since taking temporary charge.
He added of Schmeichel, who made a series of key saves: “He’s a great shot-stopper and his distribution is there for everyone to see as well. When we needed him the most, he came up trumps.”
Schmeichel, whose father Peter won the Champions League with Manchester United in 1999 but who has himself had to work his way up from the fourth tier, said: “I’ve been down all the way to League Two and to be standing here in the quarter-finals of the Champions League is quite incredible.”
Skipper Morgan, a key figure in their 5000-1 odds-defying Premier League triumph last season and scorer for the night’s first goal from a Riyad Mahrez free-kick, savoured another almighty upset.
“We never expected to get this far and here we are. I’m not sure it’s ever going to happen again but we did it,” he said.
“We proved a lot of people wrong. It’s a big night for everyone in Leicester. We’ve pulled off the impossible again.”
Schmeichel had already saved smartly at his near post when Morgan bundled in the opener to level the tie on aggregate, with Leicester holding a potentially decisive away-goal advantage.
He was beaten on 53 minutes when Sevilla left-back Sergio Escudero’s dipping shot from 25 yards hit the underside of the crossbar, but the hosts would strike again within seconds, Albrighton sweeping past goalkeeper Sergio Rico after a cross was only half-cleared.
Nasri received a second booking 16 minutes from time when he and Vardy butted heads, yet Sevilla still had a chance to take the tie to extra-time when Schmeichel was judged to have fouled Vitolo, only for former Stoke midfielder Steven Nzonzi’s tame penalty to invite the Leicester keeper to redeem himself.