LEICESTER, England (AP) – Leicester’s substitutes pounced on a rare lapse in concentration by Aston Villa to salvage a 1-1 draw for their team in the first leg of the English League Cup semifinals on Wednesday.
Hamza Choudhury dispossessed Douglas Luiz as the Villa midfielder dawdled on the ball inside his own half and it was fed to fellow substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, who slammed a rising shot into the net in the 74th minute.
Right back Frederic Guilbert broke forward to give Villa the lead in the 28th from his side’s only shot on target at the King Power Stadium, as the injury-hit visitors stifled the second-place team in the Premier League until Iheanacho struck.
The second leg is on Jan. 28 at Villa Park. The winner faces Manchester City or Manchester United in the final, with City 3-1 ahead from Tuesday’s first leg.
Following a recent season-ending injury to Brazil international Wesley, Villa didn’t play a recognized striker against Leicester - a tactic also employed to good effect by City at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Villa defended obdurately, with prolific striker Jamie Vardy - the top scorer in the Premier League this season - getting only three sights on goal. The first two before halftime were saved by Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, and Vardy’s third attempt was struck into the side-netting just before the final whistle.
Villa is a five-time winner of the League Cup, most recently in 1996. The last of Leicester’s three titles in the competition came in 2000.