Leicester get the basics right as they raise their game for club's greatest ever European night

There were no over-complications as the champions of England wrote yet another chapter in the sensational Leicester City story

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The banner was in need of a little tidying but it did the job. ‘Let slip the dogs of war’ were its words - perhaps the first time they’ve drawn from 'Julius Caesar' for their stadium art here - with an accompanying image of a man called Shakespeare and what vaguely looked like a Rottweiler.

There were no over-complications: that is the point. It was the biggest European night they had known here, light years even from the Atletico Madrid at Filbert Street in the Cup Winners’ Cup of ’61 but when it came down it, they did the simple things well; did what we remember Leicester City do well.  

The electricity - even before the referee blew his whistle, the fans took the roof off the joint and Leicester joined Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last eight– was testament to what European nights could be: a message across the miles to Manchester City.

The technical areas telegraphed the basics. Craig Shakespeare was the one who dispensed with the theatrics, in his plain black and white Puma boots and average kit, shuffling back and force a little, hands shoved in inadequately small pockets, while the dapper Jorge Sampaoli leapt around in colourful attire, like a coiled spring.

The Englishman didn’t seem to feel a need to shout a lot and neither for that matter, did his players. The accoutrements of Champions League knock-out were back in the depths of the stadium – the souvenir magazine-sized match programme and the new dining space laid on to accommodate more journalists than they’ve ever known here.

The errors in Leicester possession could be counted on the fingers of one hand, with Robert Huth the bulwark of an almighty defence. Marc Albrighton, Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki slid the ball around as if by osmosis; as if back in those Spring days of 2016 when they were striding out towards the title.

And ahead of them, was the man who brought something of the night to all of this. Jamie Vardy dived to win the free kick from which Wes Morgan put Leicester ahead and had executed so many more by the game’s hour ark that the Italian referee would award no more, on a point of principle. The way Vardy crumpled to earth when Samir Nasri’s dropped a forehead into his own – and found himself dismissed - was of the same dramatic proportions. Reeled him in like a fish.

It was not all Vardy brought. He raced, chased, chivvied and if that free-kick was questionable then he can say that when you play the percentages you gain from them. The freekick, the set piece, the scrambled goal: back in the old routine.

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Vardy was back to his tenacious best (Getty)

There could have been no better player to be rid of than Nasri, less lean now, though Sevilla’s orchestrator and stage-manager; an individual whose capacity for self-destruction is always a ticking clock.

The heart-stopping threats, when they arrived, were brutal – the thumping effort form Sergio Escudero which crashed against the underside of the crossbar and sat up for Nicolas Pareja who thrashed it into the stand. The penalty which Kasper Schmeichel conceded and saved.

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Schmeichel was Leicester's hero once again (Getty)

It is sometimes the way of the game that the side which has so narrowly survived will head up the field and make the miss a source of even more regret and the Marc Albrighton goal which followed Pareja’s miss did just that.

It was a performance light years from what we saw of Leicester in Sevilla and there will be time when the dust has settled to ponder again the extraordinary aspect of the Leicester story these past eight months: why Claudio Ranieiri unstitched what he had when he knew all along it could offer something like this.

That is for another day. The present is a time to savour the onward journey among the continent’s very best and the elixir which on Tuesday night was restored to the city which thought it had lost it for all time. The stadium thundered at the end and the blue and white flags were manically waved. “Champions of England,” they sang. “We know what we are.”

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