Big match verdict: Wiedwald's error is pivotal as Leeds United fall to Leicester City
In terms of memorable moments at a stadium that sits just a hefty clearance from Filbert Street, Roque Junior’s hapless debut in white takes some beating as the Brazilian, a World Cup winner no less, bumbled his way horribly through a 4-0 defeat early in the 2003-04 season that eventually brought relegation from the Premier League.
But there have been others to stand out, such as the stunning strike from Adam Clayton that brought United’s only victory in those ten trips to Leicester.
What there has not been, though, from a Leeds perspective is such an acute sense of ‘what if?’ as there was surrounding last night’s exit from the Carabao Cup.
Granted, the Foxes were worthy winners, in the end, after goals from Kelechi Iheanacho, Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez capped an impressive fightback after the hosts had fallen behind to Pablo Hernandez’s stunning opener.
But, as Thomas Christiansen’s men headed home up the M1, there was an over-riding feeling the night could have panned out differently had the Premier League side not been gifted a way back into proceedings via a poor error from Felix Wiedwald.
Faced with a punt forward landing in his penalty area with Slimani in hot pursuit, the German should have been brave enough to throw himself on top of the ball.
If he got clattered, so what? That is often the reality of life as a goalkeeper and referee Lee Probert would surely have delivered the appropriate punishment to the Foxes man via a yellow card.
Wiedwald, however, chose to try to clear with his feet – only to send the ball straight to Iheanacho 25 yards from goal.
A couple of seconds later, Leicester, who had seemed devoid of ideas up to that point, were level and the complexion of the entire night had changed.
Suddenly, the hosts looked like a Premier League side and, by full-time, had deservedly earned a place in tomorrow’s quarter-final draw.
It was a shame for Leeds who, up to that 30th-minute equaliser, had enjoyed the better of proceedings and scored a goal worthy of comparison with Clayton’s winner in 2011.
Collecting a pass from Kemar Roofe, the Spaniard tricked his way past Andy King and Marc Albrighton with a delightful turn on the edge of the penalty area.
Then, after looking up to assess his options, Hernandez unleashed a ferocious shot that left Ben Hamer clutching at fresh air as the ball cannoned into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Going ahead was deserved reward for an enterprising start by the visitors, who had brought the first save of the night from Hamer when Jay-Roy Grot, following a clever exchange of passes with Roofe, saw his shot beaten away.
Roofe also had a good chance just before the half-hour, but his shot was blocked and moments later the tie was level.
Again, the finish was of the highest order as Iheanacho curled a shot beyond the despairing dive of Wiedwald from 20 yards, but the German really should have done better in dealing with that initial punt forward.
It was a totally avoidable goal and one that buoyed the Foxes to such an extent that, by half-time, the Leeds crossbar had been rattled by Demarai Gray and Pontus Jansson had been forced to throw himself in front of a goalbound effort from Albrighton.
The hosts remained on top after the break and really should have killed off any hopes of an upset before the hour mark.
First, Jansson’s under-hit back pass allowed Slimani to nip in ahead of Wiedwald before rolling a pass to King who could only balloon his shot over.
Then, as United were opened up down their left flank, Albrighton floated a delightful cross that was just begging to be converted by Slimani.
However, despite being three yards out and Wiedwald having been taken out of the equation by the flight of the cross, the Algerian somehow headed over.
Both were big let-offs for Leeds, but their good fortune ran out 20 minutes from time. More incisive play from the Foxes allowed Iheanacho to get clear and roll a pass for Slimani to convert from close range.
The capacity crowd, lured by prices that started at £3 for children and £10 for adults, knew the tie was effectively over, but Mahrez still made sure with an exquisite shot that gave Wiedwald no chance in the visitors’ goal.
Leicester City: Hamer; Amartey, Maguire, Dragovic, Chilwell; Iborra, King, Albrighton (Mahrez 65); Gray, Iheanacho (Vardy 80), Slimani. Unused substitutes: Jakupovic, Fuchs, Ndidi, Musa, Ulloa.
Leeds United: Wiedwald; Anita, Jansson, Shaughnessy, Borthwick-Jackson (Ayling 46); Phillips, Klich; Roofe, Hernandez, Cibicki (Sacko 65); Grot. Unused substitutes: Lonergan, Pennington, Vieira, Alioski, Lasogga.
Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire).