It was an emotional night for Leicester as Ricardo Pereira scored a dramatic late winner produced a superb comeback to beat PSV Eindhoven in the Europa Conference League and reach the club’s first European semi-final.
The 2016 EPL Champions will set up a last-four meeting with Jose Mourinho’s Roma, who knocked out Bodo/Glimt.
Following a goalless first leg at King Power Stadium, Eran Zahavi capitalized on a Youri Tielemans mistake to put the home side ahead before Maddison dragged Leicester level with 13 minutes remaining.
The Foxes midfielder slotted into the top corner from Ayoze Perez’s clever cutback and Pereira then fired the winner in the 88th minute to seal a memorable win at the Philips Stadion.
“We are creating history,” said Maddison. “It’s a brilliant feeling and a brilliant night. We showed that resilience. A great feeling.
“The togetherness of the boys is unbelievable. [Wesley] Fofana is fasting and hasn’t eaten or drank all day and he puts in a performance like that. It epitomises what we are made of. Two brilliant goals to win the game.
“Another big night ahead – these are the nights you want to be involved in. It is one we look forward to. That is what we do it for.”
— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 14, 2022
What an incredible night! So proud of this team! Let’s go Ricky! 🦊 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/Of85x6HX6r
— Timothy Castagne (@CastagneTim) April 14, 2022
Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers had urged his side to make history and reach the club’s first European semi-final, but for 77 minutes it looked like it won’t be their night against a more adventurous Dutch side. It has been an underwhelming season for Rodgers but his decisions on the sidelines at Philips Stadion inspired a stirring comeback.
Half-time replacement Patson Daka had already wasted a glorious chance before fellow substitute Perez picked out Maddison and the midfielder lashed home.
Then, with two minutes to go, substitute Ademola Lookman found Daka and the forward’s effort was palmed into the path of right-back Pereira, who made no mistake.
It has been a decade of firsts for the Foxes, who won their maiden FA Cup last season and claimed a first top-flight title in 2015-16, and hopes of adding to that with a European trophy remain alive, albeit in the third-tier competition.
Winning this competition might also be Leicester’s best chance of qualifying for Europe next term, sitting ninth in the Premier League and 11 points adrift of a Europa Conference League spot.
“These fans have seen Leicester win the title and now they are daring to dream again,” former Leicester and England striker Emile Heskey told BT Sport.
“Going off this performance, Leicester will be very confident for the rest of the tournament now. The owners have dared to dream. It is fantastic.”