Jamie Vardy said Leicester City “left it all on the pitch” as the Foxes’ Champions League dream came to a spirited end following a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid at the King Power Stadium.
Atleti made the trip with a 1-0 advantage from last week’s quarter-final first leg in the Spanish capital thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s contentious penalty.
Saul Niguez’s first-half header then left Leicester with an even bigger mountain to climb, although Vardy smashed home just after the hour to provide hope of a comeback.
Atleti were typically stoic in defence, though, as Leicester pushed in search of the two goals they needed to progress, and Diego Simeone’s men reached the last four with a 2-1 aggregate win.
“We absolutely gave it our all, especially in the second half,” England international Vardy told BT Sport. “They made a lot of blocks on the line.
“We were in the ascendancy. We made a tactical change with Leo [Leonardo Ulloa] on to give an aerial threat. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. But we gave it our all and left it all out on the pitch.
“On another day some could have gone in. But we can be proud.”
CS: “We had to make changes and go more direct, but the effort we showed was excellent. No disgrace to lose to a team like that.” #LeiAtm
— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 18, 2017
Vardy noted Leicester were competing in the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, with the Premier League winners having been among the outsiders for the competition but outlasting England’s other representatives Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City.
“We knew it was going to be hard,” he added. “Every game so far has been the same. From the display you’ve seen it was a fantastic effort.
“We have some unfinished business in the Premier League. That was a new experience for a lot of the lads and we have given it our all.
“The fans have got us through the 90 minutes.”
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