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Jamie Vardy is thrilled to keep Leicester in the hunt


Key point: Kasper Schmeichel saves a penalty

Key point: Kasper Schmeichel saves a penalty

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Key point: Kasper Schmeichel saves a penalty

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy ended a 10-game goalless run to break his Champions League duck and keep the Foxes alive in the competition as they suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat at Sevilla.

The Premier League champions are struggling domestically this season and looked to be heading out of Europe as they found themselves two goals behind to their high-flying hosts.

Sevilla missed a 13th-minute penalty as Joaquin Correa's effort was saved by Kasper Schmeichel before Pablo Sarabia struck with a fine header from Sergio Escudero's inviting cross.

Correa made amends by adding a second just after the hour mark following good build-up play from Stevan Jovetic.

But Leicester's hopes of making the last eight were boosted as Vardy, without a goal since December 10, tucked away Danny Drinkwater's low cross from close range in the 73rd minute.

Vardy said: "Everyone has given 110% and everyone has come off absolutely blowing.

"We knew we had to be patient and take our chances but we knew we could hurt them on the press and that's what Danny did. He got it over to me and I slipped it in."

Man of the match Schmeichel says the players were determined to show their fighting spirit.

"It was tough, very tough," he admitted. "We were up against a very good side but going into it, it was about how much we were hurting from what has happened this season and how much we wanted to put in a performance.

"We lost the game but they are a very good side, 2-1 away from home in the Champions League is a good result. The away goal is massive, that was something we had hoped we could get.

"Going back to the King Power Stadium, anything can happen."

Reflecting on the several saves he made, Schmeichel added: "That is what I am there to do, you have nights like that. We knew we would have to ride our luck and come up with some saves. Everyone deserves credit.

"We lost the game, that is disappointing. We certainly are not celebrating, but 2-1 away from home in the Champions League? We will take that."

But for Schmeichel's first-half heroics, Leicester would have been out of the tie before half-time with Sevilla's lead failing to reflect their utter dominance.

The Dane pulled off a string of saves as the Foxes survived a first-half onslaught but hung on to set up a winner-takes-all showdown on March 14.

While they were outclassed, Claudio Ranieri's men can take heart from the defeat.

The Italian said: "We knew they're better than us, they have high quality in possession. We suffered. They showed their quality but we showed our heart.

"We showed belief and never gave up. That makes me satisfied. If we were a little more calm on the counter-attack, we could have done more. It was very important to match them and every result is still open.

"Their quality is very high and when you make a mistake, the opposition scores goals.

"Kasper Schmeichel and everybody had a good game. Kasper saved the penalty and gave lots of support to his defenders.

"For us, it is important to continue to show our performance and our football."

Amidst Leicester's dire domestic form, which has seen them lose 14 league games, including their last five, and exit the FA Cup at the hands of League One Millwall, their Champions League displays have acted as timely reminders of last season's title success. This could be a turning point.

Belfast Telegraph