Sammie Szmodics stun Leicester as Blackburn reach FA Cup quarter-finals | FA Cup

Blackburn stunned Leicester to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, with Tyrhys Dolan and Sammie Szmodics taking advantage of poor defending to secure a 2-1 win to send Rovers through to the last 16 for the first time since 2015. Kelechi Iheanacho scored a goal, but the 2021 FA Cup winners were unable to find an equalizer in the last 23 minutes.

Brendan Rodgers celebrated four years in charge of King Power Stadium on Sunday and this loss marked his 200th game. Nobody can dispute the progress in their first two years, which culminated in their first FA Cup triumph in the club’s history, but this season in particular has been hard work.

Two wins from their last nine Premier League games have left them 14th, but reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals would provide a natural boost before the final race down the line.

Instead, defeat by Blackburn – inconsistent in an average league – is another nail in the coffin of a season Leicester would rather forget. Not that Rovers were unworthy winners. They used every mistake – and there were many – to punish the hosts and kept their composure as Leicester launched a late attack, Daniel Amartey hitting the post.

Six changes, including Ricardo Pereira’s debut since May 2022 after his recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon, initially did not dilute Leicester’s early quality and they should have gone ahead after eight minutes.

Dennis Praet was very selfless when he presented space at the edge of the area and fed Tete, who was denied by Aynsley Pears. The rebound, though, went down well for Praet, who should have done better than shoot straight for Pears.

The Blackburn goalkeeper resisted Jamie Vardy’s angled strike, but in order not to be overtaken, the visitors created some dangerous openings. They were emboldened by Leicester’s waste and the Foxes’ failures in defense only motivated them further.

First, Luke Thomas’ slip gave Dolan a chance before Daniel Iversen had to be alert to avoid Szmodics after Leicester lost the ball, although the striker’s finishing was poor.

Blackburn had grown into the game as the threat from Leicester had diminished and the haphazard nature of the hosts’ defense was a serious cause for concern. Even a routine long ball caused problems, as a misplaced header by Wout Faes and a miss by Amartey allowed Szmodics to curl past an unmarked Dolan. The striker was only eight yards out with Iversen to win, but the goalkeeper smothered his low shot.

However, it was only a brief reprieve when another error was finally punished by Dolan in the 33rd minute. Amartey’s attempt to play out was ill-advised and ill-advised as his pass was cut short by the striker, who darted towards goal and beat Iversen on the edge of the penalty area.

Tyrhys Dolan (10) attacks from distance to give Rovers a 1-0 lead. Photography: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

If Leicester were careless before the break, their defense became dire immediately after and they fell further behind seven minutes into the second half.

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Only Ryan Hedges’s sloppy finish prevented Rovers from doubling their lead when Boubakary Soumaré was robbed on the edge of their own penalty area but, as before, Leicester did not heed the warning.

Minutes later, Sam Gallagher’s strong tackle on Thomas sent the striker galloping from the halfway line to find Szmodics on the edge of the penalty area. There was still plenty for him to do but he got past Amartey and Pereira and his smooth shot rolled smoothly into the corner.

Another Iversen save prevented Szmodics from making it 3-0 soon after as Leicester crumbled.

Rovers were more confident, more determined, but out of nowhere Leicester scored with 23 minutes remaining. Harvey Barnes found space for the first time and pulled back for Iheanacho to score his now customary FA Cup goal from close range.

Pears also denied the striker as time ticked away and Amartey’s header hit the post in stoppage time.

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