FC Porto 5-0 Leicester: Silva (2), Corona, Brahimi and Jota scored for Dragões
Premier League champions Leicester were hit with a reality check after their fairytale unbeaten run in the Champions League came to an abrupt end.
Leicester City travelled to Portugal for their final Champions League Group G game against FC Porto without needing a result, having sealed top-spot with a game to spare.
Claudio Ranieri took the opportunity to rest key players Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy ahead of their Premier League clash with Manchester City on Saturday.
Islam Slimani, also known as the ‘dragon-slayer’ because of his incredible goal scoring record against Dragões, was also left at home due to nursing a groin injury.
Remarkable continental form
Their success in Europe this season has been remarkable considering their downfall in domestic football.
The Foxes are currently only two points above the relegation zone having failed to win a game in the Premier League since October.
On the other hand, before kick-off the Foxes boasted the joint-best defensive record in the Champions League alongside Atletico Madrid, conceding only one goal in five games.
FC Porto required a victory to progress to the knockout stages of the competition due to FC Copenhagen beating Club Brugge 2-0 in the other game in Group G.
Pressure on the hosts
The Portuguese hosts eased the pressure off themselves by taking an early lead.
It took only six minutes to shatter Leicester’s impressive form in the competition.
Porto scored after Foxes goalkeeper Ben Hamer fumbled the ball to concede a corner. The resulting set piece found Andre Silva who headed the ball past the rooted English goalkeeper.
Jesus Corona doubled the score-line on the 26th minute with a brilliantly placed volley into the top corner.
Yacine Brahimi rounded off a dominant half for the hosts with a well-worked team goal on the 44th minute.
Fluid build up play from Porto led to a cross into the Algerian who spectacularly back-healed the ball past the helpless Hamer.
Leicester’s lack of intensity and momentum in the first half left the visitors frustrated. They showed a touch more character in the second half but were still clearly outclassed by Porto.
The frustration began to show as Danny Drinkwater conceded a penalty for pulling Silva down in the six-yard box. The Portuguese striker then calmly stepped up to claim his brace on the 64th minute.
Drinkwater also limped off the pitch to sum up a disappointing night for the Foxes with what appeared to be ligament damage.
One of the rare positives on the night for the visitors was Harvey Barnes coming on to make his senior debut for the club.
FC Porto rounded off an impressive performance with a fifth goal on the 77th minute when Diogo Jota smashed an effort through the legs of Ben Hamer.
Substitute Leonardo Ulloa almost claimed a consolation goal as the ball fell kindly to the Argentine in the area but his sliced effort clipped off the crossbar.
However, the home side controlled every aspect of the game as their dominant performance justified the 5-0 score at full-time.
Fairytale story far from over
Regardless of the result, Leicester’s extraordinary journey continues after successfully qualifying for the knockout stages in Europe’s elite competition.
The fairytale story is far from over.
They will discover their fate on Monday when they enter the round of 16 draw, where they could meet the likes of Bayern Munich, PSG or Real Madrid.
In need of resurrecting their domestic campaign
The Midlands club now need to transform some of their early Champions League form to the Premier league.
With the winter break from European football now underway, the English champions must apply their focus on climbing their way out of trouble domestically, starting with a win against title contenders Manchester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Written by Conor Lee
Follow Conor on Twitter @cmlivesports
Check out more of his writing via his excellent blog, Live Sports Reports
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