ALBION bowed out of the Carabao Cup at the fourth round stage after a pulsating game against Premier League high-flyers Leicester City with the Foxes having to wait until the 89th minute to finally seal victory as James Maddison's goal secured a 3-1 win for Brendan Rodgers' side.
When Leicester scored early through Kelechi Iheanacho there were ominous signs for Nigel Clough's side and when Belgian playmaker Youri Tielemans added a second inside twenty minutes there were many fearing what the final scoreline might be. But Albion dug in and when Liam Boyce scored his fifth Carabao Cup goal of the season, smashing the ball past Danny Ward in the Leicester goal the contest was back on again and only a top class save from Ward later in the half prevented Scott Fraser grabbing an equaliser.
Ward, arguably, made as many important saves as Kieran O'Hara in the Burton goal over the course of the ninety minutes and Leicester could not finally be assured of their place in the last eight until substitute Maddison restored the two goal advantage late on, too late for Albion to come back again.
Both of the Albion's starting changes were enforced as Lucas Akins served a one match suspension for two yellow cards in the earlier rounds of the competition whilst Richard Nartey missed out with a hamstring problem having failed to complete the ninety minutes against Blackpool on Saturday. Reece Hutchinson returned to the defence at left back with Kieran Wallace continuing where he left off on Saturday in the heart of the defence. Boyce returned to spearhead the attack.
Leicester meanwhile showed nine changes to the side that featureed in the emphatic 9-0 win at Southampton on Friday. Included in their side was former Albion loanee Hamza Choudhury who had two spells with the club in 2016 and 2017.
The Premier League side were quick to get into their slick passing game and striker Iheanacho fizzed a low angled shot beyond both O'Hara and the far post with just three minutes played.
That was just a warning however as the former Manchester City man made a darting run into the box to receive a pinpoint cross from Tielemans on the left to fire the Foxes ahead on seven minutes.
Albion posed a threat at the other end just after the quarter of an hour mark. Nathan Broadhead looked for a shooting opportunity but had to feed Boyce on his outside and his shot was blocked by the imposing figure of Wes Morgan charging our and as the Brewers kept the ball alive Scott Fraser was just wide with a rasping effort from 18 yards out.
Leicester doubled their lead on 20 minutes with some more slick interplay, this time on the right hand side of Albion's box. This time it was summer signing Dennis Praet finding the space to square the ball and it was just inviting TIELEMANS to run on and steer it past O'Hara.
John-Joe O'Toole was having a great game at the back with several key interceptions when Leicester went forwards although the absence of a flag from the assistant when Iheanacho burst through didnt help things although Demarai Gray's finishing, on this occasion failed to match that of his team mates as he blazed over from 15 yards.
Leicester's passing game was impressing and stretching the Brewers but Albion were playing some good football of their own and it took a timely intervention by Ward in the Leicester goal to stop Fraser pouncing on Hutchinson's cross before Broadhead launched himself at a cross, heading at goal and forcing Ward into a decent save. The Everton loanee was left in some discomfort from the challenge that meant he wasnt quite able to convert. Ward continued to impress and when Ryan Edwards picked out another Broadhead run into the box the former Liverpoo, youngster was out smartly again to block.
Albion two down at the breat but not without chances in the first half.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-2 Leicester City
Former Leicester favourite Lloyd Dyer came out for the second half to a warm reception from the visiting fans who remembered his time at the club. Hutchinson was the man to not reappear for the second half.
The visitors were quickly about their business and within ninety seconds they were inches away from a third goal as Praet latched onto another slid rule pass before chipping the ball past O'Hara but also the far post as the Brewers stopper got his angles spot on.
However the game took a turn on 52 minutes as Albion got themselves on the score sheet. The Brewers worked hard on the edge of the box with Sarkic showing good skills to maintain possession and when he fed the ball to BOYCE he lashed a venomous shot goalwards that Ward got hands on but found too hot to handle as it flew into the net. Game on.
Suddenly the game took on a whole new complexion as Albion suddenly found the spaces in midfield that Leicester had denied them in the first period and Sarkic twice went close, a shot going wide of the target and then a header towards the back post that was hurriedly scrambled away from close to the line.
Leicester showed their ability to cause danger at the drop of a hat and when Marc Albrighton picked the pocket of Wallace he forced an excellent block from O'Hara before firing the loose ball into the side netting.
Whilst Boyce was trying to make it an uncomfortable night for Northern Ireland team mate Jonny Evans....and succeeding it helped create a chance for Stephen Quinn but his rising shot was always just too high as it passed over the angle of post and bar.
Leicester made their first change as the second half reached the mid way point with Iheanacho having played his part and Academy product Harvey Barnes sent on to try and do his bit.
O'Hara got the better of Albrighton again on 69 when a swift move from Leicester cut through the Brewers with the winger the spare man available on the left hand side, Albion's keeper further enhancing his growing reputation with a good sprawling save.
Albion were inches away from a spectacular equaliser on 74 minutes when Boyce crossed in from the left and Fraser made a meaty connection in the middle but Ward was, and had to be, equal to it to make an outstanding save under his crossbar at close quarters.
Leciester also sent on James Maddison inside the last ten minutes with the game still in the balance but it was Albion's midfield creating the next best chance when Fraaser slid the ball through to Sarkic but with the chance to make a real name for himself opening up he fired over the top.
It proved a costly one to miss as Leicester wrapped things up with around ninety seconds of normal time remaining as Gray made the most of a slip at the back up against the bye line to set up Maddison for a clinical finish.
Gray should have msade it four on the night but having rounded O'Hara he was foiled by Edwards getting back to clear his goabound effort. That would have been harsh on Albion who had put in an outstanding effort and could hold their heads high after another special Carabao Cup night at the Pirelli.