Football

UEFA Champions League: Sevilla v Leicester City – Last chance saloon for Ranieri

La Liga giants Sevilla host reigning Premier League champions Leicester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Last 16 at Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan tonight. This is the first competitive meeting between the two sides and it will be interesting to see how it pans out. Despite a dreadful performance in the league, Leicester can only hope to continue their historic run in the Champions League to achieve greater heights. Though Sevilla’s current form and performance indicates that the English champions may not be even a match for them, but Claudio Ranieri has to make his players play at their miraculous best to play for something in the second leg.

 

 

Sevilla hoping to ease past the Foxes

Many would reckon it would be a matter of by what margin Sevilla would win this game against Leicester. And rightly so considering their performances along with their league form. Though Sevilla were just able to make it to the last 16, thanks to their draw with Lyon on the last matchday, but they still are a formidable side. One should never forget their 2-1 win over Real Madrid which ended Zidane's sumptuous unbeaten streak. Jorge Sampaoli has injected a new belief around Sevilla and a La Liga title amidst the domination of Barcelona and Real Madrid is certainly on the cards. They are just three points off Real Madrid in the Primera Division. On the road to the Last 16 in the Champions League, they have just lost once and that was the 3-1 defeat at Juventus. Sampaoli should hope that his side comfortably dispatch Leicester City so that they’ve nothing to worry about in the second leg.

 

 

Sevilla Team News

Sampaoli will prefer to start with in-form Steven Jovetic upfront. Ben Yedder and Vasquez are expected to be in the starting XI as well but it remains to be seen whether Vitolo gets a start. Defender Tremoulinas and Midfielder Krohn-Dehli are out injured. Elsewhere, Nasri and Nzonzi should dictate the midfield. And Jorge would opt for a back four instead of 3 at the defence.

 

Leicester aim to continue their dream run

After a phenomenal Premier League triumph last season, Claudio Ranieri has the UEFA Champions League in his sights. Though it is still a very bold remark about Leicester chasing the Champions League, but in this world full of uncertainty you never know. It is clear that the Premier League holders are fighting for relegation this season and have been dreadful so far. But looking at their Champions League campaign so far, they should be given due credit to finish top of their group which had heavyweights, FC Porto. A trip to Seville and grabbing a respectable result there is a substantial task, but if Ranieri addresses his players with a statement of intent, they can produce shockwaves around the Footballing world with a substantial result on Wednesday. For the least, they should aim that they have something to play for in the return leg at King Power Stadium.

 

 

Leicester City Team News

The club’s record signing Islam Slimani missed Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Millwall due to a groin injury and is a big doubt for the upcoming match on Wednesday. Striker Leonardo Ulloa was also left out of the squad for the FA Cup game, with a thigh problem.

 

Probable Lineups

Sevilla XI (3-5-2): Rico; Mercado, Rami, Lenglet; Sarabia, Vasquez, Nasri, N'Zonzi, Vitolo; Jovetic, Ben Yedder

Leicester XI (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton; Slimani, Vardy

 

 

Match Predictions

Sevilla 3-1 Leicester City

This should a comfortable affair for Sampaoli’s men but Leicester will grind hard to at least get an away goal.

 

TV Guide

The match will be live on the Ten Sports network at 01:15 AM IST on Thursday, 23rd February 2017.

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