Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 31 March 2020

Brendan Rodgers backs 'confident' Leicester City to reach League Cup final after first leg draw with Aston Villa

Hosts fell behind to Frederic Guilbert's first half goal, but Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to equalise

Soccer Football - Premier League - West Ham United v Leicester City - London Stadium, London, Britain - December 28, 2019 Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho scores their first goal REUTERS/David Klein EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - Premier League - West Ham United v Leicester City - London Stadium, London, Britain - December 28, 2019 Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho scores their first goal REUTERS/David Klein EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Brendan Rodgers said his Leicester City team are "confident" of reaching the League Cup final after earning a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.

Rodgers' side fell behind to Frederic Guilbert's first half goal in the semi-final first leg at the King Power Stadium, but Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to equalise with his sixth goal in his past eight appearances.

Leicester will feel they should have won after dominating for long periods, but the team in second place in the Premier League will have to finish the job at Villa Park in the second leg on January 28.

"Overall I thought we dominated the game. Villa made some blocks and the keeper made some good saves," Rodgers said. "Over two ties it was always going to be tough and to get to a final you have to suffer, but the boys are confident."

Rodgers has a remarkable record of advancing from his last 30 domestic cup ties with Liverpool, Celtic and Leicester.

However, the last team to beat Rodgers in a domestic knockout competition were Villa in the FA Cup semi-finals in 2014-15 when he was Liverpool manager.

And Villa, whose last major trophy was the 1996 League Cup, will feel they are in pole position to reach the final after surviving a stern examination.

"I thought Leicester were the better team. We have given away a farcical goal. Ezri Konsa has got brain dazzled," Villa manager Dean Smith said.

"But we defended brilliantly at times and it will be a raucous crowd at Villa Park. I'm looking forward to it. It's all to play for."

The second leg winner will play Manchester City or Manchester United in the final at Wembley, with City leading 3-1 after their first leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Updated: January 9, 2020 08:50 AM

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