Puel delighted for `fantastic´ Ward after penalty heroics


Leicester boss Claude Puel hailed hero Danny Ward after their Carabao Cup shootout win over Wolves.

The goalkeeper saved from Romain Saiss, Diogo Jota and Adama Traore to send the Foxes through 3-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw at Molineux.

Rachid Ghezzal, Vicente Iborra and Kelechi Iheanacho netted from the spot for the visitors – as Christian Fuchs and Hamza Choudhury missed – who deserved their victory following a scrappy third-round tie.

Ward – who was Huddersfield’s penalty king when they won the Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Reading in 2017 – joined from Liverpool for around £12.5million in the summer but has been restricted to two Carabao Cup outings.

“We have recruited him just for penalties,” Puel smiled. “No, we know his quality, in training sessions.

“He is a fantastic keeper and it was a good opportunity for him to show his quality so I am happy for him.

“It was a tough game for the team and for him also because he didn’t have a lot to do in the game so he had to keep his concentration and his condition until the penalties, and he was very successful.”

Leicester were also boosted after the game by the news that Demarai Gray’s injury does not appear as bad as first feared.

The winger was stretchered off in injury time after challenging Ryan Bennett and needed oxygen during lengthy treatment.

Gray left Molineux on crutches with a protective boot on his left ankle and briefly said he thought it was his ligaments.

Puel added: “He is positive. It was the one time he defended. Demarai has hurt his left ankle and will have a scan tomorrow morning (Wednesday). I hope it’s not a serious injury.”

Wolves struggled to create meaningful openings having made nine changes from their 1-1 draw at Manchester United.

Ruben Vinagre tested Ward and Bennett headed over, while Benny Ashley-Seal scored in the shoot-out.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo said: “It was a good game, intense. Leicester started strong but I thought we controlled the game after that. We were the better team and created more chances.

“The changes meant nothing for us, we kept the same philosophy. I was proud of the way the players worked this evening.

“Defensively we have shown we are good and for the second year in a row we have gone out of the competition without conceding a goal.”


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