Leicester City’s hopes of finishing in a Champions League qualification place were extinguished on Sunday afternoon after they fell to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
It was a desperately disappointing end to an otherwise outstanding campaign for the Foxes, who lifted their first-ever FA Cup crown just a few weeks ago.
For much of the season, it seemed inevitable that Brendan Rodgers’ men would finish inside the Premier League’s top four and return to Europe’s elite cup competition for the first time since 2016/17, but defeats to Newcastle United, Chelsea and Spurs in their final four league games saw them end up in fifth place.
It’s the second consecutive campaign where the Midlands outfit have missed out on a Champions League spot on the last day of the season, however, this one may hurt Rodgers even more, given Leicester led on two occasions over the weekend.
Chelsea’s defeat to Aston Villa meant three points would have seen the 2016 Premier League champions leapfrog the Blues in the top-flight table, and it seemed as though that would be the case with under 15 minutes of action remaining.
That was until a rare goalkeeping howling from Kasper Schmeichel badly let Rodgers and his teammates down. The 34-year-old shot-stopper punched the ball into the back of his own net when attempting to clear a corner, levelling the scores in the 79th minute.
As per SofaScore, the Denmark international received a rating of 5.4/10, by far the lowest score awarded to any player on the King Power pitch.
The big error topped off an underwhelming display from the usually dependable keeper. He let in four goals, he only had a passing accuracy of just 68%, and managed to pick out a teammate with only four of his 11 attempted long balls.
Fortunately for the Foxes, this kind of display is certainly infrequent as far as Schmeichel is concerned, and he received the backing of his manager after a mistake against Burnely a few months back.
“He’s been brilliant for me in my time here, there’s moments where it looks like it’s going to be a goal and he pulls off a save,” said Rodgers. “His concentration and his desire to stop the ball going in the net is so good.
“He always produces for us, he’s absolutely outstanding when he had to be here. That’s why he’s one of the top keepers at this level.”
The Leicester fans will surely forgive their great Dane on this occasion, given his past heroics, but it will still be a disappointing way to end 2020/21 nonetheless and it was, all in all, a hopeless performance from one of the club’s modern-day legends, a performance that cost his side a Champions League place.