Football: Juninho strikes to earn his revenge over Leicester

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The Independent Online
Leicester City 0

Atletico Madrid 2

(Atletico win 4-1 on aggregate)

Juninho's revenge is complete. So, alas, is the souring of relations between Leicester and Atletico Madrid following a spiteful second leg of their Uefa Cup first round match at Filbert Street.

The diminutive Brazilian, inconsolable after Leicester's victory over Middlesbrough in the Coca-Coal Cup final, followed up his equaliser in the Vicente Calderon Stadium with the second-half goal that finally rewarded Atletico's superior speed and skill last night.

Kiko added a second with two minutes remaining. Leicester were left to reflect angrily on the bizarre sending-off of Garry Parker 14 minutes into the second half, shortly after the dismissal of Juan Lopez appeared to have handed them the initiative.

The evening was still goalless when Parker teed up a free- kick outside the Spanish area. The Leicester midfielder tried a shot which Jose Molina held comfortably, but was then astonished to see Monsieur Harrel reaching in his pocket. Having cautioned Parker in the first half, he now brandished a red card with the yellow.

Atletico's coach, Raddy Antic, who played with Parker at Luton, was asked afterwards whether it had been a turning point. "Definitely", he said, before confusing the issue by claiming that Parker had made a "childlike error".

Martin O'Neill did not mince his words. Describing the referee as "desperately poor", the Leicester manager claimed the Frenchman had also denied his team three "blatant" penalties. One out of three was the least they might have received from another official.

Once Leicester began chasing the game, Atletico were queueing up to score and it took several fine saves by Kasey Keller to prevent a heavier defeat. The fact remains that the home side were starting to exerting concerted pressure on 10 men when Parker was banished.

Atletico might have killed off the tie after only five minutes when they carved through a rearguard which was understandably uncertain following the surprise inclusion of Julian Watts, who had returned from a loan spell at Crewe 72 hours earlier.

Kiko's flick from Jose Caminero's cross hit the bar, giving Leicester a reprieve on which they built with typically direct attacks. Mustafa Izzet twice went sprawling under Atletico challenges, but if O'Neill hoped for a spot-kick to cancel out Atletico's disputed winner in Spain, he was disappointed.

Pontus Kamark, leaving Juninho's side for the first time, had a drive deflected wide. Matt Elliott's header met a similar fate, while an Ian Marshall shot struck Santi and missed the post by inches. Yet the more clear-cut openings went to Atletico, Christian Vieiri firing wildly over after 27 minutes.

Lopez, who had committed several heavy fouls on Emile Heskey, tempted the referee once too often by scything down Marshall in the 50th minute. But when Parker followed him down the tunnel, Leicester's chance went with him.

Jose Mari, an 18-year-old who makes lightning look lazy, soon appeared and began to create gaping holes in the defence. The substitute's cross was turned in by Juninho after 72 minutes, and he repeated the feat to set up Kiko.

Leicester (3-5-2): Keller; Prior (Cottee, 76), Elliott, Watts (Savage, 66); Izzet, Kamark, Lennon, Parker, Guppy; Marshall (Fenton, 90), Heskey. Substitutes not used: Claridge, Campbell, Wilson, Andrews (gk).

Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Molina; Lopez, Santi, Frascarelli, Geli (Prodan, 86); Caminero (Vizcaino, 73), Bejbl, Juninho, Lardin; Vieri (Jose Mari, 66), Kiko. Substitutes not used: Pantic, Aguilera, Futre, Jara (gk).

Referee: R Harrel (France).