17 March - 23 March, 2017 Bangla Post 39
LEICESTER STuN SEvILLA
From heroes to zeros and back again, Leicester City's remarkable roller coaster ride took another twist as a superb 2-0 victory over Sevilla put them in the quarter-ﬁnals of the Champions League on Tuesday. Down 2-1 from the ﬁrst leg last month in Spain -- when they were also careering towards relegation -- Leicester rolled back the clock to last season's Premier League title heist as goals by skipper Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton put them in the last eight in their ﬁrst crack at Europe's elite competition. Europa League aristocrats Sevilla's dream of a ﬁrst appearance in the Champions League quarter-ﬁnals turned sour as Samir Nasri was sent oﬀ shortly before Steven N'Zonzi's 80th-minute penalty was saved by Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel. The Dane, whose father and former Champions League winner Peter was watching inside a pumped up King Power Stadium, also saved a penalty in the ﬁrst leg in which a dominant Sevilla could have won by a landslide. "It is an unbelievable achievement for the club. I am proud of the boys and proud of everybody. We had a game plan, we stuck to it
and it came oﬀ perfectly," Schmeichel, who made two other important saves, said. Leicester have now won all three matches since Ranieri, the man who led them to the Premier league title last May, paid the price for a woeful run of form that had the Foxes careering towards the ignominy of relegation as champions. They are still just three points above the drop zone but with Ranieri's former assistant Craig Shakespeare conﬁrmed in full-time charge, they can look forward to a potential clash with the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid. It looked ominous for Champions League debutants Leicester in the early exchanges as Sevilla sought the away goal that would have put them in complete control of the tie. Leicester keeper Schmeichel made a great save to keep out Nasri's stinging shot, but Sevilla struggled to ﬁnd the passing rhythm that had overwhelmed their opponents in the ﬁrst leg. A well-organised Leicester worked tirelessly and looked dangerous from set pieces and it was from a Riyad Mahrez free kick that they took the lead with skipper Morgan bundling the ball
into the Sevilla net with his thigh in the 27th minute. Ahead on away goals the situation played perfectly into Leicester's hands as they sat deep and broke quickly with Jamie vardy's pace always a threat. Sevilla upped the ante in the second half and came within a coat of paint of equalising in the 54th minute when Sergio Escudero's swirling
eﬀort from 30 metres beat Schmeichel but struck the underside of the crossbar. It proved a pivotal moment as a minute later the ball dropped kindly for Marc Albrighton just inside the penalty area and he was allowed time and space to dispatch a left-foot shot past Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico. Sevilla went desperately in search of a goal but Nasri
Mahmudullah to return home Mahmudullah is set to leave the Bangladesh squad in Sri Lanka and return home after suﬀering a dip in form in all formats of the game. The experienced middle-order batsman arrived at the P Sara Oval with the team on Thursday but did not practice with his teammates. He spoke to team manager Khaled Mahmud for a long time, then went into the dressing room and never came out. Mahmud later said, Mahmudullah was
dropped from the second Test against Sri Lankan and would ﬂy back home on Tuesday. The former national team captain thinks dropping him after one match on their Sri Lanka tour sends out a message for the whole team. “The performance is what matters here. One must do well to play in the team. The combination is an issue. But the truth is, performance is key,” Mahmud said. “Mahmudullah is returning home because he is not being considered for the second Test. I think his performance let him down. He will ﬂy back on Tuesday morning if ticket is available.” In the last Bangladesh Premier League, the 31-year-old allrounder won the best player award for his ﬁne allround show. But the slump began
late in December last year on Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand. His ODI scores against the Black Caps were 0, 1 and 3. He hit a half-century in the opening Twenty20 there, but followed it up with 19 and 18. He has been going through a particularly lean phase in Tests, scoring a halfcentury only once, against India in Hyderabad last month, in his last 13 innings. Mahmudullah had scores of just 8 and 0 to show for his eﬀorts in the ﬁrst Test against Sri Lanka as Bangladesh suffered a huge 159-run defeat in Galle to be left trailing in the two-Test series. “I think Riyad [Mahmudullah] is mature enough, a tried-and-tested performer for Bangladesh. I hope he will return to the team through his performance once again.
got himself needlessly sent oﬀ in the 74th minute after squaring up to vardy and bumping foreheads. Nasri received a second yellow card while vardy, an irritation all night to Sevilla, was cautioned. Sevilla were handed a lifeline almost immediately though when Schmeichel clattered into vitolo and the referee awarded a penalty.
N'Zonzi was handed the task of putting Sevilla back into the tie but his weak kick was saved by Schmeichel. "The players can be immensely proud of themselves," Shakespeare said. "We rode our luck at times but the character was immense. When we needed Kasper the most he came up trumps."
Juve move into quarters Paulo Dybala converted the penalty three minutes before the break to complete a 3-0 aggregate win for the Serie A side after Porto defender Maximiliano Pereira blocked Gonzalo Higuain's goalbound shot with his arm and was sent oﬀ. The defeat put a dampener an historic evening for Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas who made a record 175th appearance in European competition, overhauling Paulo Maldini's total. The Italians never looked like relinquishing their 2-0 lead from the ﬁrst leg of the last 16 tie in Portugal three weeks ago when Porto also played the second half with 10 men after Alex Telles was dismissed for two bookable
oﬀences. "There will always be a doubt as to whether it would have been diﬀerent with eleven players," said Porto coach Nuno Espirito Santo. "It's not right for a team to be penalised twice, ﬁrst with a penalty and then a red card." Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was not entirely satisﬁed. "We need to improve the quality of our football which in the second half left a lot to be desired," he said. "The result isn’t everything.” Porto, backed by a noisy contingent of fans who kept singing until the ﬁnal whistle, had some early pressure without seriously testing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buﬀon.