After a Youri Tielemans screamer was disallowed for an earlier offside, Luis Sinisterra's 20th-minute header put Javi Gracia's hosts in front. A slow-burning but intensely-fought encounter ended in a point apiece as Jamie Vardy's 169th goal for the Club restored parity with 10 minutes to spare. Both sides wanted three, but one point could prove crucial at the end of May.
The returns of James Maddison and Harvey Barnes to City’s XI were warmly received by the Blue Army, 2,892 of them, tucked away in the away end. A lively wall of twirling blue and white scarves in that corner greeted the Foxes to the pitch at kick-off. One of football’s old grounds was at full flight early on, with both sets of supporters creating a cauldron as the Yorkshire sun sunk beneath the Don Revie Stand. Leicester’s players were expecting a white-hot atmosphere inside Elland Road and Manager Dean Smith will have done his best to prepare them for it. When you find yourself in the relegation quagmire, it’s a struggle to get out of it. Nights like these aren't meant to be simple and this one certainly wasn't.
Leicester were on the wrong side of an early twist just eight minutes in. After withstanding Leeds, a corner offered them a route forwards. Maddison whipped it in and Wout Faes’ leg diverted it to Boubakary Soumaré. The Frenchman turned back, his path to goal closed, rolling it to Tielemans, lurking on the 18-yard line, to belt the ball into Illan Meslier’s top right corner. The Foxes celebrated in front of the away dugout, with Smith calling for calm. Nobody expected it inside Elland Road, but VAR’s intervention gave the locals hope. Soumaré’s leg was offside and the goal – however extraordinary – wouldn’t stand.
Leicester resumed their plan to press their opponents into mistakes. That’s what happened on 16 minutes, when Soumaré won the ball midway into Leeds territory. Before long, it was at Maddison’s feet, and then Kelechi Iheanacho’s. The Nigerian quickly commuted it on to Barnes, who arched out his right boot to try and stroke the ball beyond Meslier. Home skipper Liam Cooper, however, was alert to the danger and darted into its path. Another turnover, seconds later, allowed Iheanacho and Maddison to play a one-two – ending with Leicester’s No.10 scuffing wide inside the six-yard box. There was audible anxiety in Elland Road, but that was brushed away in an instant on 20 minutes – their side taking the lead.
Jack Harrison cut inside on the right flank and lobbed it towards the back post, where Sinisterra was waiting, poised to nod it past Daniel Iversen. All three of City’s wins in 2023 have come from losing positions – a form of solace in testing times. The game had no real flow to it, though. Sometimes that favours the away side, but it wasn't midway through the first half. Passes were going unfulfilled, shots not struck at the right time – for both sides. Any misplaced Leeds pass provoked a groan, inaccurate Leicester balls were met with a roar. The first half fizzled away for Smith’s men in truth. Moments into the second, Çağlar Söyüncü’s outstretched calf stopped Patrick Bamford from testing Iversen. Faes was also in Rodrigo’s way.
The visitors had a spell before the hour, plugging away, striving for an opening. Timothy Castagne spotted one after a lengthy passage of Leicester possession. His low ball was flicked on by Faes towards the far post. Iheanacho couldn’t get there in time to finish and Barnes curled over. A Maddison free-kick cannoned off a resolute white wall, Söyüncü’s header was punched away too. The Foxes were probing, but not breaking through. A super double save from Meslier came next – the Frenchman first palming Iheanacho's arrow before using his chest to deflect substitute Patson Daka's follow-up away from danger. He stopped Iheanacho again shortly afterwards, smothering the ball at the former Manchester City striker's feet at a tight angle.
Finally, Leicester's hard work paid off. With 10 minutes of normal time to go, they broke down the middle. Iheanacho rode a challenge from Cooper. Visibly in pain, he was able to make the pass, cutting through Leeds' backline and picking out Maddison, bursting into the box. The England international's touch was maybe intended to tee himself up for shot, but it turned into the perfect assist. Vardy, fresh off the bench, came charging in to nestle the ball into the bottom corner. It was so nearly two quick-fire goals, too, when Daka's squared pass was converted first time by Vardy. He was offside, though.
Leeds piled on the pressure in the latter stages. Marc Roca's point-blank header was saved brilliantly by Iversen, but it looped up into the open air; spinning, destined to bobble over the line. Kristiansen was there for the Foxes, but it hung at a terribly awkward height for him. Mercifully, there was nobody in white to push it over the line, and the Dane had just enough time to hook it away. Another home corner was just as dramatic. Harrison's cross was flicked on off Roca's head, into Bamford. Unmarked at the back post and with time to think, the Leeds man hit it wide. It was a chaotic ending, with City unleashing pinball on the Leeds penalty area in the dying moments too. Like Leicester before them, Leeds hung on. A point each.
Major moment – Vardy's leveller
Jamie Vardy toasts his equalising goal for the Foxes.
Just as the magnificent Blue Army in the away end may have contemplated having nothing to cheer on the night, up stepped Jamie Vardy to add another crucial goal to his collection. We'll only know its significance in the weeks to come, but if nothing else, it keeps Leeds within Leicester's grasp.
Who impressed? – Iversen in goal
The Danish stopper was picked out praise by Gerry Taggart.
Former LCFC centre-back Gerry Taggart said: “Leeds were really coming at Leicester’s goal at times. I thought they stood up to it reasonably well, apart from the goal, but that save from Daniel Iversen at the end was fantastic – a match-saving save.”
Where does it leave us? – 17th
Dean Smith embraces Youri Tielemans at the full-time whistle.
Dean Smith’s men remain above the bottom three of the Premier League, now one point clear of Everton in 18th. It's Leeds on 30, City on 29 and Everton on 28. The Toffees host high-flying Newcastle United on Thursday.
Coming up – Everton (H)
City were roared on by a loud away following in Leeds.
City’s next assignment is a clash with Everton at King Power Stadium on Monday evening (8pm kick-off). Fulham at Craven Cottage follows on Monday 8 May (3pm kick-off). All times BST.
- Share via Facebook
- Share via Twitter
- Share via Email
- Share via Whatsapp
- Share via Facebook Messenger
คัดลอก URL ลงคลิปบอร์ด
URL copied to clipboard