Foxes can sniff a place in the last 16

LONDON • Leicester City have turned their debut season in the Champions League into a cakewalk and victory over Copenhagen today would seal their place in the last 16.

A narrow win over Copenhagen a fortnight ago made Leicester one of only five group-stage debutants to win their first three games.

And, should they make it four from four and Porto fail to beat Club Brugge, they will secure top spot in Group G. That would probably spare them a clash with one of the big guns in the first knockout round.

How Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, England's other three representatives, would have liked to be in that position with two group games to spare.

Yet, Leicester's European form has been in stark contrast to their domestic performances as they struggled to adjust to wearing the English champions' crown.

A 1-1 draw at Tottenham at the weekend, their first away point in the Premier League this season, following on from a home win over Crystal Palace, has hinted at a return to the kind of resilience that took them to a historic title last season.

  • 1 in 24 

    Number of defeats in all competitions for Copenhagen. It came at Leicester on Oct 19.

    6 in 7 

    Goals for the Danish champions' in-form striker Federico Santander.

Leicester are one of only four teams - Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Sevilla being the others - yet to concede a goal in the Champions League this season. But Copenhagen had their chances at the King Power Stadium, where they were beaten 1-0. That defeat was the only loss in 24 matches in all competitions for the Danish champions, who will still feel they have a great chance of progressing to the knockout phase for the second time, following their run in 2010-11.

All the more reason why coach Stale Solbakken is angry that his side had to play a Danish league game on Sunday - a 3-1 victory over FC Midtjylland.

"It's suicide for Danish football that we have to play a game like this on Sunday evening," Solbakken, whose side are level with Porto on four points, said. "(Leicester) could start preparing on Saturday."

Leicester will be without midfielder Nampalys Mendy (ankle) while Islam Slimani (groin) and Ahmed Musa (knock) will be assessed ahead of the game in the Parken Stadium.

Copenhagen will be hoping Federico Santander can continue a run of form that has helped him to score six goals in his last seven matches in all competitions, including two at the weekend.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'Foxes can sniff a place in the last 16'. Print Edition | Subscribe