Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Simeone expects ‘pure’ test at Leicester

AFP, MADRID

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes his side face a “pure night” of soccer when they take a 1-0 to Leicester City’s King Power Stadium for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

Antoine Griezmann’s penalty was the only goal at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday as Atletico failed to make the most of their dominance with Leicester failing to have a single shot on goal in 90 minutes.

“We anticipate a fantastic football night. An English stadium, the fans close to the pitch, it will be a pure night of football,” Simeone said of the return leg on Tuesday next week.

Griezmann was by a distance the standout performer as he also created the penalty when he was brought down right on the edge of the area after a storming run from inside his own half.

The France international had missed his past four Atletico penalties, including in last season’s Champions League final.

However, he dusted himself down to slot home his 24th goal of the season.

“He is a fabulous player,” Simeone said. “He is a complete player, you don’t know what position he plays because he is all over the pitch. He is still growing, he is playing very well at an important part of the season and is assuming more responsibility in the hierarchy of the team.”

Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare claimed his side had been let down by Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson’s decision to award the penalty when Griezmann was upended by Marc Albrighton.

“I think we were hard done by,” Shakespeare said. “I think it is one of the major decisions in the game. It is a definite foul, but it is outside the box.”

Leicester have now lost two consecutive games after winning their first six when Shakespeare replaced the sacked Claudio Ranieri, who led the Foxes to a remarkable English Premier League triumph last season.

However, he backed the English champions to turn around their narrow deficit having won all four of their home Champions League games this season without conceding a goal.

“We’re still alive, we want to stay [in the Champions League], but we know we still have a challenge ahead against a very, very good team,” Shakespeare said. “We know it is still going to be a very difficult return match. We have a very good home record at the King Power, our fans enjoy these Champions League nights. We have to create more chances, we have to attack probably a bit more than we did tonight, but we are aware of what we need to do in the second leg.”

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