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We’ll keep on writing fairytales, insists proud Ranieri

By Nick Mashiter

Published 23/11/2016

Fast starter: Shinji Okazaki gets the ball rolling for Leicester
Fast starter: Shinji Okazaki gets the ball rolling for Leicester

Triumphant Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri insists the Foxes will produce another fairytale after reaching the Champions League knockout stages.

The Foxes qualified for the last 16 of European football's top club competition after Shinji Okazaki's early strike and Riyad Mahrez's penalty secured a 2-1 victory over Club Brugge and top spot in Group G.

Porto's 0-0 draw in Copenhagen means Leicester go to Estadio do Dragao next month with their future settled and the Portuguese side needing victory to ensure they progress.

The Foxes, last season's shock Premier League winners, had never played in the Champions League before but are unbeaten after five games and five points clear at the top.

They have struggled domestically and are two points above the relegation zone but Ranieri believes his side have created more history in Europe after victory at the King Power Stadium.

"It's not important (who Leicester play in the last 16). I hope to be there in good condition. The name is not important. It will be another fairytale, win or lose," he said. "I don't know which team we'll play but it'll be a fantastic team.

"It's unbelievable, top of the group. I am very happy and very proud for my players, very happy for the chairman and the fans. It's another journey through to the knockouts - unbelievable.

"Now our minds must go on the Premier League. I want to push my players to think about the Premier League now our job is done.

"We are very close to (the) relegation (zone) and we must play at the same level as the Champions League."

Brugge, awful over the two games, made a game of it when Jose Izquierdo scored early in the second half - the first goal the Foxes have conceded in 412 minutes in Europe this season.

Ranieri added: "It's very strange. We were playing so well.

"We concede a goal on the counter attack - why? An Italian manager conceding a goal on the counter attack? It's crazy."

Brugge, now out of Europe, set a club record of five successive European defeats in the same season and boss Michel Preud'homme said: "You have to play 90 minutes to win.

"The first half was a disaster and the second half was our best level. Maybe we could have taken a point.

"Leicester played a fantastic first half and we played a fantastic second half. With a little bit of luck we could have scored again."

PWDLFAPts

Leicester54107113

Porto5221438

Copenhagen5131526

Brugge50052120

Belfast Telegraph

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