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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Late Winner Gives Leicester Cup

SHEFFIELD, England -- An extra-time goal from striker Steve Claridge gave Leicester a 1-0 victory in the English League Cup final replay and wrecked Middlesbrough's dreams of lifting the first major trophy in its 121-year history.


Claridge, who put Leicester into the premier league with a last minute strike in a playoff at Wembley last season, volleyed home a Steve Walsh cross after 99 minutes of a tight cup tie.


Brazilian Emerson squandered a wonderful chance to equalize a minute later when he worked a 1-2 with Juninho, but Middlesbrough, wilting at the end of its third two-hour cup tie in 10 days, had nothing left to offer.


The victory gave Leicester its first major trophy since 1964 and only the second in its history.


It also put the mid-table Midlands side into Europe next season.


"We could be playing Barcelona," Claridge said afterwards.


"I don't know how fazed they'll be when they run out at [Leicester's ground] Filbert Street."


Middlesbrough, which was three minutes away from beating Leicester in the initial match at Wembley, must now lift itself for the FA Cup semifinal replay against Chesterfield next Tuesday.


They also face a relegation scrap compounded by an energy-sapping fixture schedule.


"We're obviously disappointed, but that's the way Cup finals go sometimes," Middlesbrough manager Bryan Robson said.


"Leicester rested their players at the weekend. We couldn't afford to do that as we had such an important match."


Wednesday's match was a closely fought affair that produced few clear chances.


Emile Heskey had the best effort of the first half. He beat Middlesbrough's stand-in keeper Ben Roberts but then saw his shot cannon off the post.


Middlesbrough's talented foreigners Emerson, Juninho and Fabrizio Ravanelli occasionally threatened to break the stalemate but were generally well shackled by the Leicester defense.


Then came extra time and Claridge's winner.