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Wes Morgan fired up as Leicester close in on knock-out stages

Leicester City1 FC Copenhagen 0

By NicK Mashiter

Published 19/10/2016

Leicester City's Leonardo Ulloa (left) and FC Copenhagen's Andrija Pavlovic battle for the ball at the King Power Stadium. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
Leicester City's Leonardo Ulloa (left) and FC Copenhagen's Andrija Pavlovic battle for the ball at the King Power Stadium. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
Get in: Riyad Mahrez scores Leicester City’s winner last night. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
Leicester City's Daniel Drinkwater (left) battles for the ball with FC Copenhagen's Federico Santander (centre) and Thomas Delaney. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA

Wes Morgan was on a high after Leicester maintained their 100 per cent start in the Champions League with a 1-0 win over FC Copenhagen. Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring just before half-time and Leicester thought they had doubled their advantage after the break when Islam Slimani headed home, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

In the end, Claudio Ranieri's side were indebted to a fine late save from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as they moved to within one victory of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

"It was an unbelievable atmosphere once again," Morgan said.

"The crowd turned up and really cheered us on. Even the Copenhagen fans were fantastic as well and made it really noisy. It's nights like this you live for."

The result left Leicester five points clear at the top of Group G and Mahrez said: "We've got nine points so we're confident (of qualifying for the last 16).

"We just have to keep going as we did today and in the first two games."

A third straight Champions League win is in stark contrast to their Premier League form, and Ranieri's side now have more points in Europe (nine) than they have domestically (eight).

But they are revelling in their European tour and ended Copenhagen's 23-match unbeaten run which stretched back to May.

Mahrez had been recalled after starting Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Chelsea on the bench as Ranieri prioritised last night's game, although he was made to wait for a breakthrough.

Following comfortable and deserved wins over Club Brugge and Porto, FC Copenhagen offered the Foxes a sterner test.

With Leicester sloppy in possession, the misfiring Jamie Vardy and recalled Slimani had little early service, although the former did see a deflected effort skid wide after 18 minutes.

Both teams cancelled each other out as the Foxes continually went long and looked out of ideas before they finally worked the ball wide and were rewarded with a 40th-minute winner.

All the joy Vardy had got came from the left flank and when he was given time the striker launched a deep cross to Slimani.

The Algerian nodded down for the onrushing Mahrez, who escaped Mathias Jorgensen to stab in his third Champions League goal of the season from six yards.

But FC Copenhagen almost hit back instantly when Youssef Toutouh's strike hit Morgan to loop onto the roof of the net.

Despite their goal, Leicester were still not at their fluent best, but thought they had doubled their lead after 67 minutes only for the offside flag to deny Slimani.

Schmeichel was called on to make a stunning save with a minute left to secure the points when he brilliantly changed direction to keep out Andreas Cornelius' low 10-yard strike.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Amartey 90), King, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Vardy (Okazaki 85), Slimani (Ulloa 88). Goal: Mahrez 40 Not used: Hernández, Musa, Schlupp, Zieler

Copenhagen: Olsen, Ankersen (Gregus 87), Jorgensen, Johansson, Augustinsson, Verbic (Jensen 66), Kvist, Delaney, Toutouh (Pavlovic 85), Santander, Cornelius. Not used: Andersen, Høgli, Antonsson, , Kusk

Man of the match: Riyad Mahrez

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli

Belfast Telegraph

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