Saturday 19 January 2019

Foxes through to last-16

Shinji Okazaki celebrates
Shinji Okazaki celebrates

Leicester booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League after surviving a second-half rally to beat Club Brugge 2-1.

The Foxes have taken top spot in Group G meaning they go into their final trip to Porto next month in cruise control following another historic achievement in their first season in the competition.

They are five points clear of Porto, who drew 0-0 in Copenhagen, following a fourth win in five games, although they had to dig deep after Brugge improved drastically after the break.

Shinji Okazaki's opener set the early tone at the King Power Stadium as the hosts soothed their Premier League wounds, with the defending champions just two points above the relegation zone with a quarter of the season gone.

Riyad Mahrez's penalty gave them breathing space before Jose Izquierdo, Brugge's bright spot, pulled a goal back after the break - the first the Foxes have conceded in this European campaign.

Robert Huth almost turned into his own net late on as Brugge finally made the game a contest but Claudio Ranieri's side hung on.

Victory also means Leicester have more points in Europe than the Premier League after dispatching Brugge, who have lost every game in the Champions League this season.

Leicester skipper Wes Morgan said afterwards: "It is a fantastic feeling to reach the last 16. It is more than we could ever imagine.

"For Leicester to be newcomers and finish group winners it is an amazing achievement.

"A great result and a great performance," he added.

"We wanted to finish first in the group. It wasn't easy today but we did it and happy to be first," said second goalscorer Riyad Mahrez.

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