Leicester advanced to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals despite being spooked by Burton. Brendan Rodgers’ men seemed set to dish out another emphatic beating after goals by Kelechi Iheanacho and Youri Tielemans put them 2-0 up after 20 minutes.
But rather than lie down like Southampton, the League One side rebelled, halving the deficit thanks to a Liam Boyce and forcing Danny Ward to make several fine saves. James Maddison came off the bench to settle the tie in the 89th minute.
Beating Bournemouth in the previous round stoked Burton’s hopes of reproducing their feat of last season, when they toppled four teams from higher divisions on their way to the last four of this competition.
But Leicester’s 9-0 Premier League demolition of Southampton on Friday revived rather grimmer memories for Burton, who were ravaged by the same scoreline at Manchester City in the first leg of last season’s semi-final. “We were looking forward to [this tie] a lot – until we saw Leicester play at Southampton,” joked the Burton manager, Nigel Clough, before kick-off. Rodgers was not minded to take things lightly even if he included only two of the players who started at St Mary’s – Jonny Evans and Youri Tielemans. Leicester’s squad is so strong that the side sent into action still had a fearsome look to it – and the bench was even better, just in case the going got tough.
The underdogs began with an in-your-face aggressiveness that demonstrated they were not about to let the visitors sashay their way forward from the back. Still, Leicester worked an opening within four minutes, Iheanacho flashing a shot wide from a narrow angle. Three minutes later the Nigerian made no mistake after Demarai Gray and Tielemans sliced through Burton with a precise counter-attack, leaving Iheanacho to sweep the ball into the net from 10 yards.
Burton did not get lose heart despite being forced to chase the ball for long periods. And in the 18th minute, after winning back possession, they showed some quality of their own, Nathan Broadhead setting up Boyce for a shot that Wes Morgan blocked. Scott Fraser fired just wide on the follow-up.
That scare irritated Leicester, who doubled their lead within two minutes. Gray was again integral to a slick move, this one culminating with Dennis Praet pulling back the ball for Tielemans to slot home from close range.
Though outclassed, Burton did not despair, carrying enough of a threat to keep Leicester’s defenders on their toes. And when the hosts played their way through that defence just before the break, Danny Ward had to make a couple of fine saves, turning away a diving header by Broadhead before thwarting the same player again one minute later.
Leicester needed to puncture the hosts’ enthusiasm early in the second half. Iheanacho gave Praet a chance to do so but the Belgian flipped the ball wide after being sent clear. Then Leicester got sloppy and Burton punished them. Iheanacho gave away possession in midfield and Leicester bungled several chances to clear before Boyce took Ward by surprise with a ferocious shot from over 20 yards.
Choudhury had to nod a header by Oliver Sarkic off the Leicester line following a corner just before the hour. Then, at the other end, Kieran O’Hara made a terrific save to stop Albrighton. When Gray released Albrighton again 10 minutes later, the keeper repeated his trick.
If Ward was at fault for Burton’s goal, he atoned by making a fabulous reflex save to turn away a close-range volley by Fraser in the 74th minute. Maddison finally made Leicester comfortable by converting a cross by Gray.