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Leicester 2-0 AEK Athens: Cengiz Under scores his first Foxes goal

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Leicester City's Luke Thomas in action during his side's Europa League match with AEK Athens
Leicester City won four of their six games in Group G and finished with 13 points out of 18

Leicester City will be seeded in Monday’s Europa League last-32 draw after sealing top spot in Group G with victory over AEK Athens.

The Foxes were 2-0 up after 14 minutes in a game they needed to win to finish above nearest rivals Sporting Braga.

They went ahead through Cengiz Under’s volley, the Turkey winger’s first goal since signing on a season-long loan.

England winger Harvey Barnes doubled the lead with a heavily deflected finish.

Progress adds to feel-good factor

Fourth in the Premier League table, three points behind leaders Tottenham, Leicester can now look forward to the knockout stage of the Europa League.

They finished on 13 points, the same number as Braga, but claimed top spot thanks a superior head-to-head record over their Portuguese rivals.

Two-time European champions Benfica and Real Sociedad, who sit second in La Liga, are among the unseeded teams Brendan Rodgers’ side could face in February.

Leicester have overcome a number of injury setbacks to make steady progress, while the Europa League has given Rodgers the opportunity to give some of his younger players a chance to gain European experience.

Luke Thomas followed his goal at Sporting Braga last month with an assist for Barnes, who cut into the penalty area to score after the 19-year-old’s ball over the top.

France Under-21 defender Wesley Fofana, also 19 and one of the finds of the season, finished the game with a 93% passing accuracy rate, while full-back James Justin gave another assured performance.

Having won just one of their previous five group games, AEK Athens were playing for pride.

Yet they offered very little threat and keeper Danny Ward was not required to make a serious save.

Under’s finish was exquisite, the on-loan player from Roma punishing Stratos Svarnas’ mistake by lashing the ball into the net.

Two minutes later it was 2-0, Barnes cutting into the penalty area before his shot ended up in the net after a heavy deflection off Ionut Nedelcearu.

It could have been more as Leicester carved out 16 chances, including six on target, in a dominant performance.

Barnes’ impressive Europa League record – the stats

  • Harvey Barnes has scored in three of his four starts in the Europa League.
  • AEK Athens have lost 11 of their last 12 matches in the Europa League/Champions League, having gone nine unbeaten before this run.
  • After no clean sheets in their first four home games of 2020-21, Leicester have recorded a shutout in four of their last five at the King Power in all competitions.
  • Cengiz Under has been directly involved in six goals in his last 10 European starts for Leicester City and Roma (4 goals, 2 assists).

What’s next?

Leicester are back in Premier League action on Sunday when Brighton are the visitors to the King Power Stadium (19:15 GMT).

Line-ups

Leicester

  • 12Ward
  • 2Justin
  • 3FofanaSubstituted forMorganat 82′minutes
  • 6Evans
  • 33Thomas
  • 26Praet
  • 25NdidiSubstituted forMendyat 63′minutes
  • 8TielemansSubstituted forChoudhuryat 82′minutes
  • 19Ünder
  • 15Barnes
  • 14IheanachoSubstituted forPérezat 67′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 5Morgan
  • 9Vardy
  • 11Albrighton
  • 17Pérez
  • 20Choudhury
  • 24Mendy
  • 28Fuchs
  • 35Jakupovic

AEK Athens

  • 1Tsintotas
  • 26HnidBooked at 24mins
  • 5Nedelcearu
  • 24SvarnasSubstituted forShakhovat 56′minutes
  • 88Vasilantonopoulos
  • 20MantalosSubstituted forAlbanisat 66′minutes
  • 8Gomes SimoesSubstituted forGalanopoulosat 81′minutes
  • 6Krsticic
  • 40Mitaj
  • 9GarciaSubstituted forMacherasat 55′minutes
  • 11AnsarifardSubstituted forOliveiraat 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 14Albanis
  • 15Laci
  • 17Tankovic
  • 18Oliveira
  • 25Galanopoulos
  • 28Shakhov
  • 30Athanasiadis
  • 44Sabanadzovic
  • 51Sardelis
  • 52Christopoulos
  • 53Macheras
  • 99Theocharis

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