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Leicester knock out Bournemouth | Iraola: Solanke has had knee MRI

Leicester booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals as a stunning extra-time strike from substitute Abdul Fatawu earned them a 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

It is the fourth time in the last seven seasons the Foxes – who lifted the trophy in 2020/21 – have progressed to the last eight of the competition.

For long periods, it looked as though Bournemouth would be the team to strike first, but despite mustering a whopping 27 shots, just four of those were on target, with many other seemingly simple opportunities squandered.

When it looked as though the game would be heading towards a penalty shootout after a largely uneventful first period of extra-time, 19-year-old Fatawu popped up with a moment of sheer brilliance that sent the Championship leaders through.

Enzo Maresca’s men will find out their opponents for the next round when the draw is made on Wednesday evening.

From a Cherries perspective, it was a game crying out for top scorer Dominic Solanke, who was left out of the squad altogether, an omission addressed by manager Andoni Iraola in his post-match press conference.

“He wasn’t feeling well and he has some issues in the knee. He wasn’t ready to be involved today,” said the Spaniard.

“He has had an MRI today [Tuesday], so we have to see what he has, assess him, see how he wakes up tomorrow and then we will see. I hope it’s not something big and he can help us in the next games.”

He confirmed on-loan forward Enes Unal has been taken to hospital with “something in the clavicle”. The Turkey international only managed to play the first half of his full debut since a loan move from Getafe in January.

“To lose two No 9s in one day is always a bad thing,” Iraola added.

How Leicester punished Bournemouth’s profligacy

For the most part, the first half of the teams’ first-ever FA Cup meeting was entertaining – perhaps if only for the neutral.

Bournemouth generated 1.51 xG by the break, yet could not find a way through. Most notably, Luis Sinisterra picked out Alex Scott after an enterprising run on the right-hand side, but the former England U20 international nonchalantly lifted the ball over the bar with his first touch.

Championship leaders Leicester came close to breaking the deadlock, too; Marc Albrighton rattled the base of the post with a low shot that had Mark Travers beaten, while seconds later, the goalkeeper produced a save for the cameras to deny Wanya Marcal.

Leicester were second best after the break, but with Dominic Solanke rested and not in the squad, Bournemouth lacked a forward capable of converting the numerous chances they created. Marcos Senesi hit the post with a curling effort early on, but there was frustration that that was, in reality, as good as it got.

A strong Leicester finish could have been capitalised on by Yunus Akgun and then substitute Ricardo Pereira, with both passing up decent chances from close range before extra-time began.

The first 15 minutes passed without incident – but then there was a moment of magic.

Kelechi Iheanacho held the ball up in the penalty area and laid it off to Fatawu, who moved the ball out left with one touch and then curled in a shot that couldn’t have been further in the top left-hand corner if he’d tried. From there, there was no way back for Bournemouth.

Iraola: Bournemouth are not scoring enough goals

Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola:

“It’s a bad day because we had hopes in this competition, but it’s true that if you play 120 minutes at home and you have the chances to attack we had today and you don’t score a goal, at the end, you deserve to get out of the competition.

“We were really bad in the last third, really bad. We recovered the ball very high a lot of times and even in the last passes, we didn’t decide well. They scored from a really difficult position – a top goal – and that’s the main reason they won.

“It’s something that is happening to us, especially over the last month, I would say. Even in the games we played really well in – Newcastle, Man City, Fulham – we are not scoring enough. That’s what makes the difference.”

Maresca: Championship and FA Cup equally important for Leicester

Leicester head coach Enzo Maresca:

“We are happy because tonight we missed many chances, but at the end we have been lucky because we could score one goal.

“We try always to share minutes in this kind of game because all of the players deserve the chance.

“Tonight was a mix between many young players and some senior players and in the end, we played a good game.

“The FA Cup is a fantastic competition so when you have the chance to go forward it’s a good one.

“The league is important, the FA Cup is important, but the most important thing for me is the way we perform. Tonight, once again, the performance was good.”

What’s next?

Sunday 3rd March 12:00pm Kick off 1:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD Sky Sports Premier League HD

Bournemouth travel to Burnley in the first game of Super Sunday live on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday from 1pm, kick-off 2pm.

Championship leaders Leicester host QPR on Saturday as they look to bounce back from last Friday’s defeat to second-placed Leeds, kick-off 3pm.

Sky News
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