Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Solbakken left with mixed emotions after Leicester defeat

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 18 Oct 2016

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Stale Solbakken believes Copenhagen still have a big chance of reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions League, despite suffering a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday.

Riyad Mahrez scored the only goal of the game at the King Power Stadium in the 40th minute, with the result maintaining the Premier League side’s 100 per cent record in Europe this season.

Although they now trail Leicester by five points ahead of the return fixture in Denmark on November 2, Copenhagen are firmly in the hunt to qualify for the next round of the competition.

Copenhagen have four points to their name at the halfway stage of the group, the same number as Porto following their 2-1 victory over Club Brugge in Belgium.

“I’m disappointed with the result. We lost concentration one time and that cost us the game,” Solbakken said.

“But I’m very happy Porto beat Club Brugge. We still have a fair chance [of qualifying] – maybe a surprisingly big chance.”

Copenhagen coped well with Leicester’s front two of Jamie Vardy and Islam Slimani for the majority of the contest, although the pair were both involved in Mahrez’s decisive strike just before the break.

“Vardy made 15 runs in the first half and we killed all of them,” Solbakken added.

“They played like we thought but even more direct with trying to put Vardy and Slimani in behind us.”

The visitors were only denied a late equaliser by Kasper Schmeichel, as he reacted quickly to keep out Andreas Cornelius’ first-time shot in the 90th minute.

The Danish goalkeeper’s reactionary save made sure Copenhagen suffered their first defeat since May 22, ending an unbeaten run of 23 games.

“Schmeichel’s save was the best action of the game,” Solbakken said.

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