Because less players equal more space to pass and move


A supercharged Filbert Way watched on as Leicester City were held to a 1-1 draw by AS Roma on Thursday night in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League Semi-Finals, leaving the tie finely poised ahead of next week's visit to Italy.

The return of striker Jamie Vardy headlined City's team news, with the Club's all-time leading Premier League goalscorer starting for the first time since March having missed out due to a knee complaint. He was one of four changes to the XI, with Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans and Marc Albrighton all returning for a big first leg fixture in Leicester.

A sold out Leicester City Stadium welcomed the Foxes onto the pitch, and, as expected, the atmosphere did not disappoint. After a pyrotechnics display, a sea of blue and white rippled around the stands as each member of the Blue Army's voices crackled through the cold mid-spring air. Leicester's last home European match of 2021/22 was seconds away from kick-off.

City bolted out of the traps, with Vardy's pressure causing Chris Smalling to lose his footing. The No.9's ball across the box was cut out by Nicolò Zaniolo. A brace of corners followed, with the latter headed wide by Timothy Castagne, as the hosts sought to smother Roma in the early moments.

James Maddison was finding space in between the lines, enjoying much of the ball, and on 10 minutes had two strikes from distance blocked. For all of Leicester's early pressure, though, Roma were ahead when their captain, Lorenzo Pellegrini, burst into a pocket of space, collected Gianluca Mancini's through-ball and beat Kasper Schmeichel.

City's first change of the night arrived on 21 minutes when James Justin replaced Castagne at right-back. After both teams enjoyed spells of possession, Nigeria forward Ademola Lookman saw his attempt turned behind, prior to Justin glancing wide at the far post from the resulting Albrighton corner.