Foxes ready for the biggest match in their history

Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (front) vying with Crystal Palace’s English defender Martin Kelly during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at Selhurst Park in London on April 15, 2017.
Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (front) vying with Crystal Palace’s English defender Martin Kelly during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at Selhurst Park in London on April 15, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • If Leicester City play with the same vigour and determination they showed to take a two-goal lead against a spirited Crystal Palace on Saturday, then Atletico Madrid's defenders could be in for a trying evening tomorrow.

The fact that Palace, infinitely more confident than they were several months ago, fought back to secure a 2-2 draw may well have something to do with Leicester minds being on their Champions League match.

However, the player who stood head and shoulders above all others could not be held responsible for either Palace goal and will be a glaring absentee in a match when the quality of brave leaders will be paramount.

Both in attack and defence, Robert Huth played like a man with something to prove after receiving that costly yellow card at the Vicente Calderon in the first leg, which Leicester lost 1-0.

Whether Wes Morgan will have recovered from the back problems that have sidelined him remains uncertain, although the Leicester captain trained on Friday.

"We are going to give him every opportunity," interim manager Craig Shakespeare said, agreeing that Huth was immense and that the German's influence accentuates the need to get Morgan back.

"It's a big ask for him (Morgan) because it's a difficult injury to get over, in terms of the power and spring for a centre-back. But we'll give him every opportunity and, with the medical staff, we'll make a decision."

Shakespeare was also relieved to discover defender Yohan Benalouane had not suffered a significant injury, despite being forced out during the Palace game.

"I'm assured it was just cramp," said the manager. "Cramp can turn into a pull, so it was just a precaution. We'll get it looked at."

Leicester appeared set to head into the Atletico match on the back of a victory that would have drawn a line under any lingering relegation fears.

But, having established a two-goal lead early in the second half, they allowed Palace to level with about 20 minutes left.

"There is a tinge of disappointment, especially when you go two up away from home," said Shakespeare. "We could have seen it out, but they asked a lot of questions of us with their aerial threat. We should be pleased with a point."

The draw moved Palace seven points clear of third from bottom Swansea, leaving manager Sam Allardyce delighted.

"It's a great point for us," he said. "On reflection, when you finish a game with a point having been 2-0 down, you have to be incredibly satisfied with that point."

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2017, with the headline 'Foxes ready for the biggest match in their history'. Print Edition | Subscribe