The Cup match against Leicester City will live long in the history of Millwall not just if we beat them they go the same way as the 2 previous Premier League clubs in rounds 3 and 4. But if we beat them we would be knocking out the current Champions of England.
There was a full house at the Den the Foxes had brought over 3,000 fans with them and over 18,000 Millwall fans the noise was at times “warp 9”.
The Foxes boss Ranieri had said he would make changes for this game because the FA Cup and Champions League was not the priority for Leicester it was about staying in the premier league. Even if it meant that the Cup and Champions League had to be jettisoned like stages of a Saturn V rocket to the moon then so be it.
For the initial 35 minutes of the 1st half Leicester were the better side and in fact could have been 2 up in the first 10 mins. Twice the Lions keeper, Archer, denied Okazaki blocking a close-range effort and a brilliant save from a corner. But Gray was the Foxes’ main thread all the time, they kept 2 men wide on the wings which would stop our full backs advancing up the flanks.
The Lions best chance in the first half came when Butcher had a shot from a cross by Onyedinma but the shot was blocked. A couple of times the Lions had promising moves only to fizzle out but it would be true to say the Lions finished the 1st half better than they started.
Seven minutes into the 2nd half the game changed decisively in the Lions’ favour.
Jake Cooper was sent off after bringing down Musa and he can have no complaints. And instead of the Foxes trying to make the extra man count it suddenly changed with the home crowd becoming the 11th and 12th man.
Leicester were on the back foot when they brought on Jamie Vardy. He looked a shadow of the player he was last season and as a consequence made no impression.
In the 80th minute, Leicester managed to carve out a chance when Okazaki failed to beat Archer from 5 yards, in which was their last chance.
Then in the 90th minute, Gregory put Cummings through in the area; he side-footed and passed the lunging Foxes’ keeper into the bottom left-hand corner.
The place erupted Leicester players and fans knew they were beat.
In his post-match press conference Leicester boss, Claudio Ranieri, gave his verdict as to why his side had failed to win, and “called on Leicester to emulate Millwall’s determination as they battle to stay in the top flight when they played ten versus 11, they played better than us. They showed more character, more desire more heart than us. They had one chance and they scored a goal”.
Ranieri claimed he wanted soldiers and gladiators and all the reports I have read about the game are agreed that Ranieri was right Leicester surrender once we went to 10 men and only they know the reason why.
We have been drawn away to Spurs in the next round. One thing for sure Spurs will prove to be a harder nut to crack if we wish to make the Semi Final. I am reminded of the words of the great Jimmy Greaves, “you never know it’s a funny old game”
Final Score: Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Millwall Lineup: Archer, Cummings, Craig, Williams, Onyedinma, Butcher (Abdou 78mins), Webster, Ferguson (Romeo 86mins), Morison, O’Brien (Gregory 78mins)
Leicester Lineup: Zieler, Chilwell, Musa, King, Amartey, Kapustka (Albrighton 64 mins), Wague (Wasilewski 70 mins), Okazaki, Gray (Vardy 73 mins), Mendy, Benalovane.