Football

Kasper blow for Foxes

Leicester hero out for up to a month after breaking bone in hand against Copenhagen

GROUP G

FC COPENHAGEN 0

LEICESTER CITY 0

His manager hailed him as one of Europe's best goalkeepers after the match.

Kasper Schmeichel starred in the Champions League goalless draw against FC Copenhagen yesterday morning (Singapore time) as Leicester City need just a point from their final two games against Club Brugge and Porto to reach the last 16, although their lead at the top of Group G was cut to three points after Porto beat Brugge 1-0 in the other match.

Copenhagen-born Schmeichel made two crucial late saves to thwart Andreas Cornelius, having also denied him in Leicester's home 1-0 win last month.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri believes Schmeichel is one of the top goalkeepers in the world after his heroics against Copenhagen, but was dealt a huge blow yesterday when the club revealed that the 29-year-old will be out for up to a month after breaking a bone in his hand during the match.

Schmeichel picked up the injury in the first half of the Group G encounter but played on regardless, helping his team become the first in Champions League history to keep clean sheets in their first four games.

The Denmark international, who played all 38 of Leicester's league games as the 5,000-1 outsiders won the title, saw a specialist after the squad returned to England yesterday, the club said on their website.

Second-choice goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, signed from Bundesliga side Hannover in the close season, is likely to start in goal against West Brom in the league on Sunday.

Praising Schmeichel after the match, Ranieri said: "Kasper is fantastic, I have coached a lot of big champions in goal, Kasper is one of them. He has had two perfect seasons.

TOP SPOT THE TARGET

"Kasper, this is my second year, has always made good performances. I am very calm when Kasper is in goal. He is strong, assured and commands the defensive line. He is a very good goalkeeper."

The Foxes now host Brugge on Nov 22, having already won 3-0 in Belgium, and go to Porto next month to wrap up the group stage.

They will be expected to seal qualification at the King Power Stadium against Brugge and Ranieri wants to finish the job later this month.

He said: "It's good, now our minds in the Champions League are about Brugge. Porto are three points behind with seven points and now there is a big challenge between Copenhagen and Porto.

"We have to win against Brugge, it's not easy. Yes they are down, but they want to do something. For us, it's important to achieve three points and go to Porto very calm and try to finish first in the group."

Schmeichel was satisfied with the point earned by his team.

"This is a difficult place to come. On reflection, it was a good point. We put in a professional performance and made sure we got a 0-0 at the least," he said. "It was a different experience to what I'm used to here. It would have been perfect if we could have nicked it, but we'll take 0-0."

Copenhagen fell two points behind Porto in what looks like a race for second despite dominating possession at the Parken Stadium.

They failed to turn their effort into goals and boss Stale Solbakken was philosophical after extending their unbeaten home run to 31 games.

"It was no robbery, we were the team closest to it, but I don't go home and say we were robbed," said the former Wolves manager.

"I am proud of my team, we have played 180 minutes against Leicester and they created two chances.

"Schmeichel has made two good saves in the dying minutes in both games, that is why he is standing there. He is one of the reasons why they won the title last season."

- Wire Services.

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