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Derry City
Shamrock Rovers
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 By PA Sport

Claudio Ranieri thrilled as Leicester advance in Champions League

Triumphant Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri insists the Foxes will produce another fairytale after reaching the Champions League knockout stages.

The Foxes qualified for the last 16 of European football's top club competition after Shinji Okazaki's early strike and Riyad Mahrez's penalty secured a 2-1 victory over Club Brugge and top spot in Group G with a game to spare.

Porto's 0-0 draw in Copenhagen means Leicester go to Estadio do Dragao next month with their future settled and the Portuguese side needing victory to ensure they progress ahead of Copenhagen.

The Foxes, last season's shock Premier League winners, had never played in the Champions League before but are unbeaten after five games and five points clear at the top.

Leicester CityLeicester City
Club BruggeClub Brugge
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They have struggled domestically and are two points above the relegation zone but Ranieri believes his side have created more history in Europe after victory at the King Power Stadium.

"It's not important [who Leicester play in the last 16], believe me. I hope to be there in good condition. The name is not important. It will be another fairytale, win or lose," he said. "I don't know which team we'll play but it'll be a fantastic team.

"It's unbelievable, top of the group. I am very happy and very proud for my players, very happy for the chairman and the fans. It's another journey through to the knockout -- unbelievable.

"It's very important to top the group, now our minds must go on the Premier League. I want to push my players to think about the Premier League now our job is done.

"Now we have to go back into the Premier League as we are very close to [the] relegation [zone] and we must play at the same level of the Champions League."

Brugge, awful over two games with the Foxes, at least made a game of it when Jose Izquierdo scored early in the second half -- the first goal the Foxes conceded in 412 minutes in Europe this season.

Shinji Okazaki guided Leicester into a place in the round of 16.
Leicester have reached the round of 16 with a game to spare in the Champions League.

The visitors applied some late pressure but wasted several openings, with Izquierdo guilty of wild finishing when well placed.

Ranieri added: "It's very strange, We were playing so well, I think we had 70 per cent possession and created a lot of chances.

"We concede a goal on the counter attack, why? An Italian manager conceding a goal on the counter attack? It's crazy."

Brugge, now out of Europe, set a club record of five successive European defeats in the same season and boss Michel Preud'homme admitted they lost the game in the first half.

He said: "You have to play 90 minutes to win a game. The first half was a disaster and the second half was our best level. Maybe we could have taken a point.

"Leicester played a fantastic first half and we played a fantastic second half. With a little bit of luck we could have scored again.

"We can score when we're on our best level. Sometimes we can score good goals and afterwards the confidence was back."


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