Foxes’ hopes hang by a thread after being held by Dutch side in Europa Conference League first leg


LEICESTER’S Europa Conference hopes are on a knife-edge after a tense night at the King Power petered out and ended in stalemate.

Brendan Rodgers’ side will now have to pull off one of their greatest ever performances in PSV’s pressure-pot Philips Stadium if they are to avoid the lights going out on their Euro dream.

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Harvey Barnes came the closest to breaking the deadlock – hitting the post in the first halfCredit: GETTY
Kelechi Iheanacho also came close to scoring in the first and second half but wasted the opportunities that fell his way

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Kelechi Iheanacho also came close to scoring in the first and second half but wasted the opportunities that fell his wayCredit: AP
PSV's Cody Gakpo was denied a stonewall penalty in the second half

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PSV’s Cody Gakpo was denied a stonewall penalty in the second halfCredit: Reuters

Although Harvey Barnes came closest to breaking the deadlock with a shot that rattled the crossbar, the Dutch side were denied a clear penalty when Ricardo Pereira sent Cody Gakpo tumbling in the box.

Roger Schmidt’s side will look to avenge that injustice on home soil and it will take a massive effort from the Foxes to book their place in the semi-finals with a win in Eindhoven.

The Premier League side survived an early scare after three minutes when they failed to nail the one dangerman who they should have been watching like hawks.

German legend Mario Gotze’s pedigree was undeniable, having scored Germany’s winner against Argentina in the 2014 world cup final.

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Yet no-one seemed to spot the danger when PSV’s superstar forward wandered onto Joey Veerman’s through ball deep inside the Foxes box.

Fortunately, Kasper Schmeichel was on his toes and defied the highly-decorated German with a stunning save to claw away Gotze’s net-bound shot with a swipe of his right glove.

Rodgers’ men finally got out of first gear when Youri Tielemans shot was deflected into the side net and he urged the home fans to pump up the volume.

Kelechi Iheanacho should have given them even more to shout about midway through the half when Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall charged down a Veerman clearance and the ball broke to Iheanacho who sprinted clear.

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However despite beating PSV keeper Yvon Mvogo, the Nigerian hitman’s clipped shot drifted agonisingly wide.

Leicester came even closer when Harvey Barnes worked a neat one-two with Iheanacho but the winger’s drilled shot crashed off the joint of bar and post.

PSV looked as rattled as their crossbar and were relieved to go in level at the break.

But the Dutch giants had every right to be aggrieved when they were denied a stonewall penalty seven minutes into the second period.

Cody Gakpo showed why he is a £45million target for Arsenal and Manchester United when he drove at Ricardo Pereira, then suddenly chopped inside.

Pereira slipped as he tried to react to the threat and he clearly whipped Gakpo’s leg away, sending the lanky winger tumbling in the box.

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Amazingly, Slovakian ref Ivan Kruzliak missed the offence and, without VAR, PSV were denied justice to the fury of their raging head coach Roger Schmidt.

Rodgers will hope his men have saved a slice of luck for the return leg in Eindhoven on Thursday. 

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