Leicester City’s remarkable debut Champions League campaign continued as they reached the knockout stages with one game to spare by beating Club Brugge.
The Foxes needed a point to make the last 16, yet secured three to ensure they will finish top of Group G.
A smart finish into the top corner by Shinji Okazaki, after a fine cross by Christian Fuchs, set Claudio Ranieri’s side on their way.
Riyad Mahrez doubled the lead from the penalty spot – for his fourth goal in five Champions League games – after Marc Albrighton was fouled by Dion Cools before Jose Izquierdo hit a wonderful consolation after a 40-yard run.
Leicester were unrecognisable from the side who have struggled in the Premier League this season.
They are the second English team, after Arsenal, to secure a place in the draw for the knockout stages on 12 December.
The Foxes sit just two points above the Premier League’s relegation zone after back-to-back defeats.
Yet Claudio Ranieri’s team cannot stop winning in Europe. Incredibly, they have picked up more points in the Champions League than the domestic league this season.
While they have lost to, among others, Hull City, West Bromwich Albion and Watford in the league, Leicester have beaten Brugge twice – as well as Porto and FC Copenhagen. It means they have 13 points from five games in Europe – yet just 12 from 12 matches domestically.
There will be disappointment that their run of four successive Champions League clean sheets is over.
Izquierdo’s thumping finish, following a terrific solo run, sparked a late Brugge surge and ensured a nervous finish, yet the Belgians could not force an equaliser.