Leicester 1 – 1 Rome


Gianluca Mancini’s goal leveler gave a boost to Leicester’s hopes of reaching the Europa Conference League final as the first leg of their semi-final with Roma ended 1-1.

Roma quickly took the lead against the run of play when Lorenzo Pellegrini was fueled by a pinpoint pass from Nicola Zalewski and shot Kasper Schmeichel in the legs (15).

Leicester created a number of chances to equalize in each half with Ademola Lookman’s wayward free header from a field-best corner, and eventually found a way through when Harvey Barnes, presented minutes earlier, entered the box before his cross was turned. in his own goal by Mancini.

Both sides had late chances to seal a first-leg advantage with Sergio Oliveira denied by an acrobatic save from Schmeichel while Kelechi Iheanacho’s long-range effort required rounding the post by Rui Patricio.

The stalemate means next Thursday’s rematch in Rome is now a one-game shootout for the right to face Feyenoord or Marseille in the final.

How Leicester bounced back to rekindle last hopes

Jamie Vardy’s 19-minute cameo in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Aston Villa allowed him to stretch his legs and after being reinstated in the starting line-up for the first time since early March to face Roma, his threat was evident inside the first two minutes.

Chris Smalling slipped under pressure from the striker, forcing Mancini to clear behind the first in a flurry of Leicester corners.

On one side, a stretching Timothy Castagne took the lead at the far post, but Leicester’s brilliant opener was stopped when Roma took the lead after 15 minutes.

Nicolo Zaniolo’s cross pass found Zalewski and he was cleared to run unchallenged and slip to Pellegrini.

The captain had thrown himself behind Wesley Fofana and, Youri Tielemans failing to follow him, netted his fourth goal in eight European appearances this season inside Schmeichel’s legs.

The Foxes lost Castagne, replaced by James Justin, to injury soon after and they briefly lost their way as Roma grew in the contest with the hosts’ momentum.

Still, the Foxes regained their bite and Lookman stretched the visitors twice before the break. First, Smalling skillfully blocked Lookman’s shot before he was implicated again after 34 minutes.

Picture:
Lorenzo Pellegrini fired Roma in the 15th minute at the King Power Stadium

Lookman, this time on the edge of the box, again found space with Patricio parrying his drive. The goalkeeper was grateful for Smalling’s clean clearance past a hiding Vardy, although the striker reacted from an offside position.

Maddison wrapped up over five minutes before the break and the theme continued into the second half with Lookman completely missing a six-yard header in one of the Foxes’ best chances.

But the on-loan RB Leipzig striker had been the Foxes’ biggest threat and Roma’s resolve finally burst after 67 minutes.

Substitute Barnes made an instant impact as Roger Ibanez tried to cut off his pass in the box, only to send the ball straight back to the winger.

He took full advantage of it, moving from the goal line towards Lookman, who was beaten by Mancini’s clumsy interception that ended in the back of his own net.

The Foxes, who were by far the better side, kept their cool as they looked for openings and Patricio had to deflect Iheanacho’s curling effort after Tielemans robbed Bryan Cristante.

Yet they were nearly undone with 10 minutes remaining after brilliant footwork and Tammy Abraham’s strength dragged Oliveira in, whose effort was fended off by Schmeichel.

And after?

Leicester will be hoping to derail Tottenham’s top four prospects when they face them in the Premier League this weekend.

Roma are looking to enter the top four in Serie A against Bologna on Sunday.




Sky Sports

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