Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Football European

Foxes must get fired up for a dogfight, says Ranieri

Porto 5 Leicester City 0

By Nick Mashiter

Claudio Ranieri threw down the gauntlet to his underperforming players after last night's 5-0 demolition at Porto - with Manchester City their Premier League visitors on Saturday.

The Foxes already had their Champions League group won before last night's game in Portugal and Ranieri took the opportunity to rest players - but he was an angry man as the champions turn their attention towards a relegation battle.

"I have a clearer idea about my players now," said Ranieri afterwards.

"We wanted to see something different, but it was too easy for Porto. We didn't make them fight to score.

"We can lose, but I want us to show our character and our strength. We didn't do that well enough."

Woeful Leicester lost their unbeaten Champions League record as a second string side suffered a humiliating 5-0 thumping in Porto.

The much-changed Foxes had already qualified from Group G, while Porto reached the last 16 with victory, but barely put up a fight as they were outclassed.

Andre Silva, Jesus Corona and Yacine Brahimi scored in the first half before Silva added a second-half penalty and Diogo Jota netted a fifth.

Badly exposed, and clearly lacking cohesion and confidence, the Foxes were embarrassed on a regular basis as their season threatens to go from bad to worse.

The last time Leicester lost by five goals or more away from home was against Portsmouth in the Championship in 2010 but, even putting their Champions League qualification into context, it was a humiliation.

With Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Robert Huth left at home, Ranieiri's shadow squad never got close to the 2004 champions as the Italian gambled on reviving their Premier League season by resting his big names.

Two points above the relegation zone, the champions need to save their faltering season but at least have a last 16 tie next year to cling on to - Paris St-Germain, Benfica, Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Madrid or Sevilla will provide the opposition.

While changes were expected, Ranieri sprung a surprise by picking Ben Hamer, with the goalkeeper's last club appearance coming against Walsall in the Checkatrade Trophy.

The 29-year-old had not played for the senior side for almost two years, while Marcin Wasilewski made just his second senior appearance of the season.

Porto needed to win to qualify ahead of Copenhagen and set the tone by going ahead after just six minutes through Silva.

It was all downhill from there for Leicester with Corona and Brahimi scoring before the break.

Silva added a second-half penalty and Jota completed the rout.

Porto: Casillas, Maxi Pereira, De Almeida Monteiro, Marcano Sierra, Telles, Danilo (Da Silva Neves 76), Corona (Herrera 76), Óliver, Brahimi, Valente Silva (Da Silva e Sousa 78), Teixeira da Silva. Subs not used: Boly, Malheiro de Sá, Goebel, Layún

Goals: Valente Silva (6, 64 pen), Corona (26), Brahimi (44), Jota (77)

Leicester: Hamer, Hernández, Wasilewski, Morgan, Chilwell, Schlupp (Albrighton 45), Mendy, Drinkwater (Barnes 76), Gray, Okazaki, Musa (Ulloa 45). Subs not used: Amartey, Simpson, Zieler, Fuchs

Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany)

Match rating: 6/10

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph