Leicester City supporters spent the afternoon mingling with the club’s top brass, the chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha among those taking in the atmosphere in Markt Eindhoven, one of the city’s main squares, and there promises to be a reasonable after-party after watching their team come from behind to complete a late comeback and reach a first European semi-final.
James Maddison’s equaliser fuelled Leicester’s belief and Ricardo Pereira prodded in at the back post after the substitute Patson Daka, who earlier spurned a golden chance to level, was denied. Leicester will face either Roma or Bodø/Glimt in the Europa Conference League last four.
Maddison had displayed a determination to take this game by the scruff of the neck, his appetite clear when he wriggled between Érick Gutiérrez and André Ramalho to carve an opening, and it was no surprise that he sourced Leicester a lifeline on which to build after they fell behind to Eran Zahavi’s first-half strike.
A PSV supporter threw his beer towards Maddison as the midfielder was mobbed by his teammates and Brendan Rodgers was all smiles when Pereira sealed victory with two minutes to spare. It was a no-frills finish but a well-worked move, the impressive Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall releasing Ademola Lookman, who picked out Daka inside the box.
The gnawing thing for Rodgers is that his side spurned two wonderful openings to ease such drama, before PSV struck on 27 minutes and a chance to level midway through the second half when Daka fired wide. For the first, Kelechi Iheanacho played a superb reverse pass from inside his own half to free Harvey Barnes but the winger, seemingly blinkered, ignored the unmarked Maddison to his right and placed his shot wide. Rodgers dragged his fingers down his face and Maddison was equally unimpressed. PSV would have taken the lead earlier had Kasper Schmeichel not got a strong right hand to a thunderous Mario Götze volley.
Schmeichel made a smart save at his near post to deny Joey Veerman two minutes before PSV struck through Zahavi. Götze seized Youri Tielemans’ loose pass and slipped in Zahavi, whose finish into the far pocket of the Leicester goal from an awkward angle was akin to a snooker pot. That goal inevitably stirred the home crowd but Leicester continued to create chances, with Maddison twice going close. His deflected shot was hooked off the line by Jordan Teze and he flashed over from inside the box after cutting inside Gutiérrez approaching the interval after Timothy Castagne headed wide at the back post after meeting Tielemans’s scooped cross.
Rodgers made a double change at half-time, Lookman and Daka replacing Barnes and Marc Albrighton. Leicester presented the PSV captain Cody Gakpo with an opening shortly after the interval when Tielemans’ pass was intercepted on halfway but Schmeichel saved comfortably. Veerman then drilled a shot wide via an outstretched Wesley Fofana boot to leave Schmeichel asking questions of his defence.
If Barnes’s early chance was big, Daka’s was massive. Iheanacho hooked a clever ball over the top of the PSV defence and Daka raced through one on one with the goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo but the striker, perhaps put off by Teze’s determination to make life difficult, dropped his shot wide. A minute later Maddison curled a shot wide that Mvogo clambered low to tip round a post but his desire to make the difference did not end there, converting the substitute Ayoze Pérez’s pullback before Pereira capped the comeback.