Missing in action

Football: Leicester City 0 Manchester City 0 Attendance: 20 ,640
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The Independent Online
IF THERE is such a thing as a goalless thriller then this was it. The classic Cup tie ingredients were there aplenty but we could have done with the odd dash of flair and a goal or two to take the chill out of the afternoon. Such was the marksmanship that even a premature implementation of Fifa's plans for bigger goals would still have resulted in a blank score-sheet.

The game ebbed and flowed in time-honoured Cup tie fashion, but neither side were able to dominate for any significant period. Clear-cut chances were scarce and the plethora of half-chances for both sides were either blocked or fluffed.

Scott Taylor started Leicester's list of misses in the opening minutes when he moved on to a sweet pass from his skipper Garry Parker only to loft a shot high over Eike Immel's crossbar. Ronnie Ekelund then matched the feat by spectacularly miscuing from Niall Quinn's knock-down at the other end. Once Steve Walsh had got the measure of the Irish international striker, it marked an end to the danger from the visitors' most favoured route to goal. Deprived of their Georgian inspiration Georgi Kinkladze, who was stricken with a throat infection, City were also bereft of the kind of imagination that might have won the day.

Parker often came out on top of the midfield scuffling, and on more than one occasion provided astute service that deserved a better fate than the series of misses perpetrated by Leicester in the second half. A deft turn and twist by Mark Robins from one such pass looked promising but ended with another wasteful shot. Simon Grayson added his presence for another attractive move but his volley failed to clear the mass of bodies congregated in the Manchester six-yard box.

Leicester threw on Julian Joachim in place of Steve Corica for the last 10 minutes and there were signs that the little striker might add that cutting edge the game had been missing. Uwe Rosler had by then missed the game's best chance, by failing to capitalise when Leicester's keeper Kevin Poole missed Nicky Summerbee's deep cross.

Visiting manager Alan Ball admitted that he was pleased to have got away with a replay, and that his team had shown fighting spirit on the day. He will not have overlooked the fact that Leicester's form away from their native Filbert Street has been their strong point this season.