By Jordan Halford at the Telia Parken.
Last Updated: 02/11/16 9:55pm
Leicester City’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League were put on hold in the Danish capital as the Premier League champions played out a 0-0 draw with FC Copenhagen at the Telia Parken.
Neither side could create any meaningful chances in freezing cold conditions in Denmark, though Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri will find solace in the fact that his side are yet to concede a goal in four games in their maiden Champions League campaign.
The result means a draw for the Foxes against Club Brugge at the King Power Stadium will be enough to guarantee their place in the knockout stages and European football in the new year.
Ranieri made three changes from the side that picked up their first away point of the season in the Premier League on Saturday against Tottenham, replacing Danny Simpson at right-back with Luis Hernandez and Shinji Okazaki with Jeff Schlupp on the left, meaning Ahmed Musa partnered Jamie Vardy in attack.
Talisman Andy King made way for Daniel Amartey in midfield against his former club, but it was the hosts who began the brighter in the opening five minutes with Peter Ankersen’s goal-bound volley blocked en route by Robert Huth.
Kasper Schemichel had to be alert in the 14th minute when Ludwig Augustinsson’s deep cross found Federico Santander unmarked at the back post, but his header eluded the onrushing Andreas Cornelius before harmlessly drifting wide.
The Leicester goalkeeper was forced into action again just four minutes later, gathering comfortably from Santander’s shot after Wes Morgan had made an uncharacteristic error in possession, while Danny Drinkwater and Huth were both booked for cynical challenges as the visitors struggled to cope with Copenhagen’s energetic high-pressing.
It was not until the 33rd minute that Ranieri’s side registered their first shot on target and that came by the means of a deflection, with Schlupp driving inside with a purposeful run only to see his tame shot gathered by Robin Olsen after he had made a hash of his clearance.
The Premier League champions had not been at the races for the first half an hour, so the Italian shuffled the pack with Schlupp moving over to the right, Musa on the left and Riyad Mahrez drifting inside as the Foxes changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The change almost paid dividends two minutes before the break, when the Algerian slipped a measured ball towards Musa who then fed Vardy, but the England striker’s shot on the turn was blocked by Erik Johansson.
Leicester began to show more intent straight after the restart with Christian Fuchs’ deep cross finding the unlikely head of Huth, but the German centre-back could not test Olsen.
The pair had to be alert at the other end moments later too, when the Austrian left-back superbly blocked William Kvist’s powerful effort from the edge of the box.
With the game approaching the hour mark Mahrez and Drinkwater combined superbly on the right-hand side, but the latter’s searching ball across the face of goal eluded his England team-mate Vardy in the box.
Meanwhile at the other end, Ankersen managed to fashion a yard of space, but he rifled his shot high and wide.
With Porto leading Club Brugge 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao, Copenhagen had slipped down to third and manager Stale Solbakken made the first change as he sent on Youssef Toutouh in search of a goal. It was his cross that found its way to Benjamin Verbic, but the 22-year-old skied his effort when he looked destined to score.
Leicester’s goal continued to live a charmed life with 70 minutes on the clock, with the lively Toutouh and Verbic combining neatly again but somehow Schmeichel managed to squirm the ball clear from point-blank range.
Ranieri sent on Okazaki for the ineffective Schlupp as Mahrez moved back out wide, and the tricky winger was unfortunate not to conjure up some magic after he bamboozled Augustinsson in the box.
The home side almost snatched an unlikely winner right at the death, when Cornelius got up superbly to head at goal but Schmeichel was equal to it as he parried into the path of Santander, who could not wrap his foot around it from close range.