New Telegraph

Leicester knocked out of Europa League in dramatic finish to group

 

Leicester City were made to pay for their slack defending as hosts Napoli advanced in the Europa League at their expense.

The Foxes had started the evening in pole position to advance from Group C but will now drop into the Europa Conference League knockout play-offs in February, reports the BBC.

A dramatic conclusion to the evening saw Leicester almost given a late reprieve because of events over 1,000 miles away in Poland, when a stoppage time penalty was awarded to Legia Warsaw in their fixture against Spartak Moscow.

But Tomas Pekhart’s spot-kick was saved by Spartak goalkeeper Aleksandr Selikhov, to ensure his side progressed as group winners instead of slipping down to third.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers will be aware his side contributed heavily to their own downfall against an injury-ravaged Napoli side.

Adam Ounas’ early goal set the tone for an error-strewn display, with Caglar Soyuncu’s ill-advised pass beginning the passage of play that saw the Algeria winger register his first Napoli goal since April 2019.

Ryan Bertrand was at fault as Luciano Spalletti’s side extended their lead, playing Andrea Petagna onside, with the forward in turn squaring for Eljif Elmas to tap home. But the Foxes responded in superb fashion with Jonny Evans driving in an immediate response after a free-kick was only partially cleared and Kiernan Dewsbury-­Hall levelling matters with a superb left-foot volley from the edge of the penalty area.

However, another defensive lapse, from a Leicester side whose last clean sheet came on the opening day of the Premier League season, proved decisive.

Bertrand, Harvey Barnes and Timothy Castagne were all guilty of not marking tightly enough as Giovanni di Lorenzo picked out Elmas, who allowed the ball to run across his body before driving it into the bottom right corner.

RESULT

Napoli 3 – 2 Leicester

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