Porto 5-0 Leicester: Foxes humiliated in Champions League clash
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 home, Claudio 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 and with Manchester City visiting on Saturday the champions need to save their faltering season but at least have a last 16 tie next year to cling on to.
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 - having been sent off in his last one against Chelsea in the EFL Cup.
Porto needed to win to qualify ahead of Copenhagen and set the tone by going ahead after just six minutes.
Again it was another set-piece problem from the Foxes as Hamer had failed to keep the ball from going behind after a corner and when the second was swung in Silva beat Jeff Schlupp to head in from six yards.
With much-changed Leicester on the defensive, Jota fired wide from distance as Porto dominated the opening 20 minutes, so much so that goalkeeper Iker Casillas did not touch the ball.
The Foxes barely made it out of their own half and Silva missed a fine chance to make it 2-0 before Corona finally doubled the hosts' lead on 26 minutes.
Leicester failed to heed the warning signs from Alex Telles and the left back swung in a fine delivery for the unmarked Corona to smash in a rising volley from 12 yards.
Porto's confidence continued to grow with Leicester's resistance barely evident and Brahimi added a third a minute before the break when he finished off a neat move with a cheeky backheel.
A commanding lead at the break was all Porto deserved with ramshackle Leicester falling apart and Ranieri attempted to stem the tide and replaced Schlupp and Ahmed Musa with Leonardo Ulloa and Marc Albrighton at half time.
Demarai Gray twice shot off target soon after the re-start as the visitors showed signs of life but Jota almost resumed normal service when he dragged just wide.
Leicester did at least have a generally solid opening to the second half but slipped 4-0 behind after 64 minutes.
Danny Drinkwater clumsily fouled Silva in the box and the forward picked himself up to send Hamer the wrong way from the spot.
The night got worse for Drinkwater, suspended for one more Premier League game, when he limped off injured and was replaced by 18-year-old debutant Harvey Barnes with 14 minutes left.
And a minute later Porto added a fifth when Jota was sent clear and he rammed through Hamer's legs to complete the rout.
Ulloa almost added a late consolation but his snap shot clipped the top of the bar.
Boss Claudio Ranieri has left a host of players, including Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at home, and here we look at the talking points ahead of Leicester's final group game.
IS CLAUDIO RANIERI UNDER ANY PRESSURE?
The Italian shrugged off any suggestions his job might be under threat but admitted the Leicester hierarchy are unhappy with their form.
It would be unthinkable for the axe to fall on the 65-year-old after what he has achieved at the club over the last 18 months but stranger things have happened.
Ranieri still has time in the bank but the Premier League champions must start to move further away from the relegation zone and can use their final Champions League game as a catalyst.
But defeat in Porto will not be that dramatic, especially without Vardy and Mahrez, as they have already qualified and top spot in Group G is assured.
IS IT PANIC STATIONS AT THE KING POWER STADIUM?
Ranieri has been there, done it and got the t-shirt and there has been no outward suggestions of panic. He may have said "everything is wrong" after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Sunderland but that is clearly not the case in the Champions League.
There is plenty of application and effort from the squad but they are missing last season's spark, a spark which saw them win the title by 10 points.
Vardy has not scored for 16 club games but he is still putting a shift in, although they have been unable to fill the void left by N'Golo Kante when he left for Chelsea in the summer.
The champions may be faltering in the league but there is plenty of time to rectify the situation - even if some concerns are justified.
WILL RANIERI MAKE WHOLESALE CHANGES?
Yes. Vardy and Mahrez have not travelled and record £30million signing Islam Slimani has also been left at home with Robert Huth, Andy King and Kasper Schmeichel.
With qualification already secured thoughts will naturally turn to improving the Foxes' poor league form.
With Manchester City visiting the King Power Stadium and Leicester two points above the relegation zone the Foxes need to think about their domestic issues, having already won Group G.
There can be the argument of Vardy and Co playing their way back into form but the champions' immediate Premier League future is paramount and they need to be ready for their domestic challenge.
Demarai Gray, Luis Hernandez, Leonardo Ulloa and Nampalys Mendy are all set to feature for the Foxes.
IS RANIERI RIGHT TO BECOME THE TINKERMAN AGAIN?
Resting his frontline stars does then add the pressure onto Saturday's visit of Manchester City as those players left behind will be expected to perform.
FC Copenhagen will be unhappy as they need to beat Club Brugge and hope Porto drop points against Leicester to beat them to second spot and a place in the last 16.
But Ranieri needs to do what is right for his team and FCK's complaints are likely to fall on deaf ears with the Italian taking the bigger picture at Leicester into consideration.
WILL THE SUMMER SIGNINGS JUSTIFY THEIR PRICE TAGS?
Just two summer buys have started the last two games and one of those was enforced with Ron-Robert Zieler deputising for the injured Schmeichel.
Ahmed Musa cost £16million but has started just five league games and scored two goals and while record buy Slimani has five goals in 11 games, he is still getting to grips with English football.
Mendy, a £13million signing from Nice, has been unfortunate with injury having only just returned after being sidelined since August and the jury remains out.
Leicester's recruitment is rightly under the spotlight and they look to have missed a big chance to build on last season's stunning success. Mendy and Musa have a chance to impress in Portugal.
Belfast Telegraph Digital