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Leicester 1-1 Atlético Madrid: what we learned from the King Power Stadium

Leicester 1-1 Atlético Madrid: what we learned from the King Power Stadium
April 15
17:20 2017
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1) Is this the year Atlético finally go on and win it?

Three semi-finals in the past four years, two finals in the previous three seasons; far too much heartache and nowhere near enough joy – is now the time for Diego Simeone’s team to banish their painful Champions League memories and finally go on and win it? Leicester, with all due respect to the English club, were favourable opponents at this stage of the competition. Now the serious business starts for Atlético. Antoine Griezmann is getting better and better, Simeone seems more driven to succeed than ever and there should be no shortage of motivation in the dressing room after those gut-wrenching defeats against Real Madrid in the 2014 and 2016 finals.




2) Leicester did themselves and English football proud

The standing ovation at the final whistle told its own story. There was great pride in the Leicester supporters’ applause as they rose to acknowledge the efforts of a group of players that have provided memories to last a lifetime. In the end Leicester came up short against Atlético, yet they played with courage and conviction, in particular in the second half, when Craig Shakespeare changed to a three-man defence and the Premier League champions came close to scoring the goal that would have set us up for a thrilling finale. Instead everyone connected with Leicester was left to reflect on a European journey that started in Bruges in September and ended at the King Power Stadium in narrow defeat seven months later, with Leicester the last English club to exit the Champions League. Not bad, all in all.

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Craig Shakespeare applauds Leicester effort after defeat to Atlético Madrid – video

3) Simeone plays a good game even from the sidelines

At times it felt like Atlético had 12 men and that had nothing to do with their travelling supporters or the fact that they looked so dangerous whenever they attacked. Forget the designer coat, smart slacks and polished loafers, Diego Simeone was virtually playing here. The Argentinian never stood still for a moment, constantly prowling his technical area and often straying well beyond it, all the while barking instructions and wildly waving his hands around to get players into position. Simeone looked like he was directing the traffic. In fact, he was controlling just about everything Atlético did, not giving his players a moment’s peace as he urged them to pass, press and chase relentlessly. His influence on this team is absolutely huge in every sense.

4) Vardy could be a perfect fit for Foxes’ conquerers

Diego Godín was not just making throwaway comments for the sake of it when he spoke effusively about Jamie Vardy on the eve of this game. “He would fit in the vast majority of teams in the world,” the Atlético centre-back said. “Who wouldn’t want a striker who kills himself for you?” Simeone had offered similar words of praise prior to the first leg and it is tempting to wonder whether Vardy and Atlético would be a perfect fit for one another given the striker’s aggressive running and the Spanish club’s desire to soak up pressure and hit opponents on the counterattack. Isolated in the first leg, Vardy was much more involved at the King Power Stadium, where he was a constant nuisance and showed once again that he can score goals at the highest level.

Leicester supporters with flags
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More than 25,000 flags were given to Leicester supporters as the fans created a cauldron of noise at the King Power Stadium. Photograph: Tim Keeton/EPA

5) Bocelli, a rottweiler and 25,000 flags

They know how to put on a show at the King Power Stadium. First there was the stirring Andrea Bocelli masterclass on the day Leicester were crowned Premier League champions, then came the crackling atmosphere in that memorable victory against Sevilla in the Champions League last month, when a giant banner was unfurled showing Craig Shakespeare restraining a rottweiler above the words “Let slip the dogs of war”. This time there were more than 25,000 blue, gold and silver flags for the home supporters and a cauldron of noise from the first minute right through to the last on an evening that provided another landmark occasion for a club that has been living the dream.




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