Atletico Madrid 1, Leicester City 0
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel blasted referee Jonas Eriksson after the Foxes were denied a famous draw at Atletico Madrid by a controversial penalty decision.
Antoine Griezmann gave last year’s finalists Atletico the edge in this Champions League quarter-final first leg, although replays showed that Leicester winger Marc Albrighton’s foul on the striker for the penalty had been committed outside the box.
“It was plain and obvious to see. It’s ruined our game-plan and is a decision that is very, very tough to take,” said Schmeichel. “It’s so clear and so obvious. We should have had something from this but we have to accept these things, apparently.”
Caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare also fumed at the penalty but insisted the Premier League champions could overcome the deficit and prolong their European adventure in next week’s return leg.
“It’s a really disappointing decision by the referee. He has to get that one right. You can’t guess on those things,” said Shakespeare.
“One-nil: I think we would probably have taken that before the game. We came here to try to get the away goal but you saw what a top team Madrid are. We’ve got a good record at the King Power and the tie is still alive.
“These are one of the top teams in Europe and we’ve given a good account of ourselves. We know what we’re about at the King Power and we know what we’ve got to do.”
Leicester’s hopes of extending their debut Champions League campaign received a further blow when defender Robert Huth incurred a booking that rules him out of Tuesday’s second leg.
There was little complaint about that decision, but Swedish referee Eriksson’s awarding of a 28th-minute penalty for Albrighton’s shove on Griezmann on the fringes of the area infuriated the visitors.
Schmeichel saved spot-kicks in both legs as Leicester stunned Atletico’s La Liga rivals Sevilla in the last round but could not deny Griezmann, diving the wrong way as the France striker tucked the ball left.
The hosts, who have conceded just once in five European home matches this season, tightened their grip on the contest thereafter but remained circumspect in attack.
Former Chelsea and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres had a chance to extend Atletico’s lead on 61 minutes but he slipped as he swung at a shot, with just Schmeichel to beat.
“I think to come here and still be in the game was the main objective of tonight,” said Leicester midfielder Andy King.
“We can take them back to ours now and, hopefully like we did in the last round, overturn the deficit. We know we’re strong at home and hopefully we can cause them some problems back there.”