Madrid, April 13 (IANS) Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare rued poor decision-making by the referee after his team was defeated by Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final here.
Atletico eked out a 1-0 win at the Vicente Calderón Stadium here on Wednesday night thanks to a controversial penalty which was converted by striker Antoine Griezmann in the 28th minute.
Leicester had enjoyed a good spell of possession, but were caught on the break by the hosts as Griezmann ran almost the length of the pitch before being brought down by Mark Albrighton at the edge of the penalty area..
The referee pointed to the penalty spot but television replays showed that the foul took place at least a foot outside the penalty area although the momentum caused Griezmann to fall in the box.
Off the resultant penalty, Griezmann sent Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way to score what ultimately turned out to be the winning goal.
“We were hard done by. It is one of the major decisions in the game — a definite foul but outside the box. I think it is a disappointing moment, a key moment,” Shakespeare was quoted as saying by the Guardian on Thursday.
“The referee has to get that one right, you can’t guess. Refs have a hard job but you want the key decisions correct.”
The situation turned even more bleak for Leicester when central defender Robert Huth was shown a yellow card in the second half. The German, a key component in the Leicester defence, will now be suspended for the second leg of the tie.
Leicester captain Wes Morgan, Huth’s usual partner at the centre of the defence, has missed the team’s last five matches as he is recovering from a back injury.
The 33-year-old Jamaica international is doubtful for the second leg as well and with Huth also forced to sit out, Leicester are expected to face a tough time when Atletico visit the King Power Stadium for the second leg next week.
“It’s a blow to lose Robert. We had a few on yellows and we knew it was a tightrope. Wes has been out on the grass for the last few days and we hope he will be all right. But honestly, it is touch and go and we’ll have to look at team shape over the next few days,” Shakespeare said.
“We know we have to be more open because we need a goal but we also know that one of Atlético’s pluses is their ability on the counter-attack.”
The Leicester manager however, asserted that his team are determined to put up a fight and book their place in the Champions League semi-finals.
“We are still alive and we want to stay in the competition. We know it is going to be a difficult return match but we have a very good record at the King Power,” Shakespeare asserted.
“Atlético are a very good team and their work ethic is exceptional. We are aware of that but we are still in this tie.”