Leicester were held to a 0-0 draw by Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague.
The Premier League side created the better chances in the first half with Harvey Barnes, who was denied by goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar, the closest to opening the scoring. Barnes also had penalty claims waved away after going down under a challenge from Tomas Holes.
After the break, Slavia Prague upped the tempo, but clear-cut chances were few and far between for the hosts. The game started to open up in the closing stages and Barnes was inches away from picking out an unmarked Kelechi Iheanacho, who was brought on for Jamie Vardy, as the visitors went in search of a winner.
However, Leicester were left frustrated as the hosts held on to leave Brendan Rodgers’ side with plenty of work still to do in the second leg, which takes place at the King Power Stadium next Thursday.
How Leicester were left frustrated in Prague…
Leicester began the game well as Marc Albrighton shot wide and James Maddison fired over inside the opening four minutes.
Arguably the best chance of the game came five minutes later when Youri Tielemans’ pass released Barnes in behind Alexander Bah and the winger surged into the box only to be denied by Kolar from close range.
At the other end, Slavia Prague threatened on the break and they created some half chances with Bah heading the best of them wide at the far post.
Slavia Prague: Kolar (7), Bah (7), Kudela (7), Zima (7), Boril (6), Sima (7), Stanciu (7), Holes (6), Provod (7), Olayinka (7), Kuchta (6).
Subs: Hromada (6), Traore (6), Masopust (6), Lingr (n/a).
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Amartey (7), Evans (7), Soyuncu (6), Thomas (6), Ndidi (7), Tielemans (7), Maddison (7), Albrighton (6), Barnes (8), Vardy (6).
Subs: Under (6), Iheanacho (6), Choudhury (n/a).
Man of the match: Harvey Barnes.
Leicester continued to plug away as Barnes hooked wide before having penalty claims waved away by Italian referee Marco Guida, while Tielemans dragged wide just before the break.
After the break Rodgers’ men lost their momentum.
The hosts were firmly on the front foot as Kasper Schmeichel gathered Nicolae Stanciu’s free-kick, before he tipped the Romania international’s 25-yard drive over the crossbar.
Leicester team news
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers named a strong side for the Foxes’ Europa League trip to Slavia Prague.
Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans started in the first leg of the last-32 tie.
Daniel Amartey was named at right-back after James Justin’s knee injury and Ricardo Pereira not travelling.
Vardy, who struggled to get into the game, was replaced by Iheanacho just after the hour as Leicester looked to wrestle back some initiative.
However, the striker was immediately booked after catching Jakub Hromada with his arm and he will now be suspended for next week’s second leg.
James Maddison then came off for Hamza Choudhury 12 minutes later as Rodgers looked to ensure Leicester held firm, but they almost snuck a victory right at the death, but Barnes’ cross was just out of the reach of an unmarked Iheanacho at the far post.
Opta stats – Leicester keep unbeaten away run intact
- Leicester have managed just one win from their last eight away games in European competition (D3 L4), though they did manage their first clean sheet on the road in Europe since November 2016 (0-0 v FC København in the UEFA Champions League).
- Leicester are now unbeaten in their last 10 away games in all competitions (W6 D4), their longest run without defeat on the road since December 2015 (14).
- Brendan Rodgers has seen his sides fail to score in each of his five away games in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League, with this his first such match as Leicester City boss (2 with Liverpool, 2 with Celtic).
- Kelechi Iheanacho was booked just 51 seconds after taking the field from the bench, with only Husein Balic for LASK earning a card quicker as a sub in any UEFA Europa League game this season (37 seconds).
- Slavia Prague have only lost one of their last 10 UEFA Europa League games on home soil (W6 D3), whilst they remain unbeaten this season at home in the competition (W3 D1). They managed 14 attempts against Leicester, the most they’ve had in a UEFA Europa League game without manging to score since February 2019 against KRC Genk (18).
Leicester are back on Sky Sports on Sunday as they travel to Aston Villa; kick-off 2pm. Meanwhile, Slavia Prague travel to Teplice in the Czech First League, also on Sunday.
The pair will then meet again at the King Power Stadium for the return leg next Thursday.