Leicester held by PSV in frustrating first-leg Europa Conference League draw

Leicester 0-0 PSV: Harvey Barnes hit the bar in the first half and Kelechi Iheanacho missed another good chance on a frustrating night for the Foxes

Nick Mashiter
Thursday 07 April 2022 22:17 BST
(Getty Images)

Leicester missed the chance to take control of their Europa Conference League quarter-final after drawing 0-0 with PSV.

The Foxes head to Eindhoven next week without a precious advantage following an even and competitive first leg at the King Power Stadium.

Harvey Barnes hit the bar and Kelechi Iheanacho missed a golden first-half chance to give Leicester crucial breathing space.

Ultimately the Foxes were left frustrated in a combative encounter, although they needed Kasper Schmeichel to bail them out early when he saved from Mario Gozte.

Leicester’s last European quarter-final was their 2017 Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid. Then, they gallantly bowed out 2-1 on aggregate after two gutsy performances and this time they go to Eindhoven with the tie delicately poised.

Five years ago they were defiant in the face of the footballing elite and, after a disappointing early exit from the Europa League in December, the Foxes are three games away from their first European final.

They face a team second in the Eredivisie, but outgoing PSV boss Roger Schmidt, who will be replaced by Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the summer, insisted pre-match his side could not match Leicester’s individual talent.

He argued they needed to use their collective ability and the visitors nearly stunned the hosts after just two minutes.

The Foxes were caught napping at a throughball and Gotze had just Schmeichel to beat, but the goalkeeper – one of only two survivors from the starting line up against Atletico – saved well.

Initially Leicester failed to settle, with the lively Noni Madueke central to PSV’s early threat, but they gradually began to see more of the ball and wrestled a degree of control.

And they should have gone ahead after 20 minutes, only for Iheanacho to blow his chance.

Joey Veerman was closed down by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and he blocked his pass to send Iheanacho clear after outpacing Andre Ramalho.

The striker was left with just Yvon Mvogo to beat, but he dinked the ball wide.

It at least proved the openings were there for Leicester and Timothy Castagne was the next to threaten, but he failed to trouble Mvogo.

The Foxes were finding the space needed and they were millimetres away from going into the break ahead.

Again, Dewsbury-Hall was the instigator as he charged down the left and cut the ball back for Barnes to swap passes with Iheanacho and crash an angled drive off the underside of the bar from 12 yards.

The Foxes were the aggressors and PSV had lacked the imagination to unlock Leicester since Schmeichel’s early duel with Gotze.

The visitors did, however, make appeals for a penalty early in the second half when Ricardo Pereira slipped and appeared to foul Cody Gakpo, but referee Ivan Kruzliak was unmoved and there was no VAR to review.

Iheanacho drilled wide just after the hour and, as the game wore on, PSV were clearly happy to take the draw back to the Philips Stadium.

They took the sting out of the game and now Leicester must do things the hard way in Holland.

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