Tempers fray as Foxes fail to force advantage

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The Independent Football

There is fuel once more in the Midlands and the Red Star coach poured it on the simmering resentment that has sprung up between these two teams in the wake of Uefa's decision to move the second leg away from Serbia.

There is fuel once more in the Midlands and the Red Star coach poured it on the simmering resentment that has sprung up between these two teams in the wake of Uefa's decision to move the second leg away from Serbia.

After a brutal draw that gave his side the advantage wherever the return match is played, Slavoljub Muslin, the Red Star Belgrade coach, launched an attack on his opposite number, Peter Taylor, as vicious as some of the tackles on display yesterday.

"I had heard the Leicester head coach was a gentleman," he said in a chaotic after-match press conference. "Nothing I saw him do was gentlemanly; he provoked me throughout the game. In my career as a head coach, I have never heard such words."

Taylor mused that Muslin must have led a very sheltered life, explaining that his main argument with him had been when a Red Star player had been carried off. "I told their coach he would be on his feet in 30 seconds and that's precisely what happened."

Taylor's annoyance would have been greater because, after conceding their first goal in open play in seven and a half hours, Leicester dominated this game territorially, especially in the last 15 minutes after Stevo Glogovac had been sent off.

Both Stan Collymore, who squandered a blatant opportunity when four yards out, and Aleksandar Kocic, who made a fine save at his feet, might have been sent off after becoming involved in a brawl. The referee was often too lenient.

Events on the pitch mirrored the atmosphere in the stands, which was frenetic and became more so when, after 51 seconds, Red Star scored. The smoke from the flares lit by the Red Star supporters was still drifting across Tim Flowers' goal when the Slovenian international Milenko Acimovic drove a measured shot from 20 yards over the keeper's head and into the net.

It took Leicester a while to find their composure but when they did they took control of the match. However, their sheer weight of possession left them horribly vulnerable to the counter-attack.

Repeatedly, Leicester's crosses failed to find their man until a couple of minutes before half-time when Steve Guppy's ball into the area was met by the stooping head of Gerry Taggart to equalise.

A scoring draw is not necessarily disastrous - Muslin pointed out that Red Star had held Dynamo Kiev away and still lost their Champions' League qualifier - although Taylor conceded Leicester would have to play better than they did last night.

The venue has still to be decided. "We are prepared to play in Birmingham," said Muslin. "That," replied Taylor, "is the second crazy thing he has said tonight."

Leicester City: (3-5-2): Flowers; Rowett, Elliott, Taggart; Impey, Savage, Lennon, Izzet, Guppy; Eadie (Collymore h-t), Akinbiyi (Cresswell 65). Substitutes not used: Sinclair, Davidson, Gilchrist, Oakes, Royce (gk).

Red Star Belgrade: (4-4-2): Kocic; Lalatovic, Lerinc, Bunjevcevic, Glogovac; Vitakic, Acimovic (Bajcetic 81), Boskovic (Gvozdenovic 86), Markovic; Pjanovic, Drulic (Stevanovic 75). Substitutes not used: Mirkovic, Matijasevic, Zoric, Pesic (gk).

Referee: T Ovrebo (Norway).

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