Jamie Vardy

Leicester & Everton Forced To Share A Point

Leicester City and Everton fought out a 2-2 draw at King Power Stadium in a breathless Premier League epic on Monday evening.
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Both sides had to come from behind, amid high stakes in the top flight, with Çağlar Söyüncü levelling for the Foxes after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s early penalty. Jamie Vardy’s super breakaway finish put Dean Smith’s hosts in front during a first half which ended with Jordan Pickford stopping James Maddison’s penalty. A close-range Alex Iwobi finish sealed a point for the Toffees, who forced Daniel Iversen into an array of fine saves and yet also held on at times on a fraught evening in the East Midlands. Although each team did everything to earn three, a single point lifts City to 16th in the Premier League.

The weekend’s results could not have been any more favourable for Leicester, but the same applied for Everton. Filbert Way was rocking and the Foxes were trying to match the Blue Army’s intensity on the pitch. Everton rode out the early storm and were brighter inside the opening 20 minutes. The home side needed a sterling stop from Iversen to tip Iwobi’s powerful drive over the crossbar. This was always going to be an agonisingly tense affair and it was following that script. Enthusiasm came on 13 minutes, though, when Vardy teed Maddison up on the edge of the area. The England man cut inside and forced a decent low stop from Pickford.

A nightmare scenario unfolded shortly afterwards. Séamus Coleman’s cross was intended for Calvert-Lewin, in the box. A Timothy Castagne barge prevented him from getting on the end of it, but instead invited referee Michael Oliver to award a penalty. The Three Lions striker hadn’t scored in nine matches against the Foxes before this clash – his worst run against any top-flight side – but Iversen had little chance to save his spot-kick. The Toffees were well on top now – and unfortunate not to be two in front when Michael Keane nodded inches wide of the far post. 

Leicester didn’t care how it came – they needed a goal as soon as physically possible to readdress the balance of a game which had threatened to get away from them. When Maddison floated a free-kick into the area, Harvey Barnes crossed it back across goal, from the left. Wout Faes obliged to send it back from where it came, towards the far post, stretching Everton’s backline like elastic. Söyüncü, of all people, was loitering, exactly where he needed to be – and the Turk took over, smashing it low past Pickford. Immense relief swirled around the ground – City desperately needed that. 

Just past the half-hour, the magnificent Blue Army were on their feet again, lauding a truly brilliant addition to Vardy’s scrapbook memories. Maddison drove forward down the middle, bulleting the ball forward, directly – perfectly – into Vardy’s path. Leicester’s greatest-ever striker, back to his best, bulldozed forward, before delicately twisting around Pickford, later finishing confidently into an empty net. King Power Stadium was at full flight – the fans were doing precisely what they needed to do – and their players were following suit on the field of play. 

With four to go until the break, more of that unbearable tension. Coleman dragged the ball back across the area, into the feet of Dwight McNeil. Another fantastic, quick-thinking save from Iversen diverted it away from danger. Abdoulaye Doucouré collected the rebound, blazing over from the angle of the area. Astonishingly, Calvert-Lewin was about to be denied again, from around three yards out. It was McNeil’s low cross, which his Toffees colleague tapped straight at Iversen, who made an unusual but effective side-footed save. This match was flying at a roaring pace – and Leicester then countered themselves. In a flash, Vardy was in the area, twisting and turning around Keane, clipping the visitors’ bar. Heads in hands once more. 

An injury to Coleman was next, with both sets of fans offering a supportive applause for the full-back. More drama was to come. Barnes’ cross was handled by Keane inside the 18-yard box – Leicester penalty. Maddison took hold of the ball and fired it straight at Pickford, who parried it away. That was the final instalment of the half, an enthralling, often chaotic battle between two sides determined to climb away from the bottom three. 

Into the second half, and Iversen was at it again, getting a toe to Calvert-Lewin’s low arrow from a tight angle inside the area. He couldn’t react quickly enough, mind you, when the ball looped up for Iwobi to calmly sweep it into the bottom corner. A topsy-turvy relegation slog had seen its next startling plot twist. James Tarkowski was soon nodding a Vardy header off Everton’s line. There was no letting up. With 20 to go, Maddison’s corner came out to Barnes, who whacked it wide on the half-volley. Pickford also dashed off his line to stop Vardy’s cross reaching Castagne in space.

The Belgian was then the man to shield Iversen’s goal away from McNeil, as Everton capitalised on loose Leicester play in the middle. Iversen also showed courage to get a hand onto the ball with Calvert-Lewin galloping onto the pass sent his way by McNeil from the left channel. A pinball-like game continued to surprise, with Pickford racing off his line to get there before Vardy. The England shot-stopper, though, lost it again to Barnes, with Vardy hitting it narrowly wide, on the spin, from 30 yards out. 

With four minutes remaining, there was another crucial, brilliant Iversen parry, to divert Doucouré’s 18-yard curler round the base of his near post. We’ve seen some almightily nervous matches of football over 20 years on Filbert Way, but few rival the drama and anxiety of this one. Leicester were giving everything. Everton were too. Ninety minutes of frantic, restless, tortuous football ended in a 2-2 draw. There's now four games to go, but City are above the dotted line. 

Major moment – Jordan Pickford’s penalty stop

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Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford makes a crucial save to prevent James Maddison making it 3-1.

Jordan Pickford’s penalty save to deny James Maddison just before the half-time break was vital for the visitors. It prevented them from going in at the interval with a two-goal deficit to scale and ultimately offered a route back into the game. 

Who impressed? – Daniel Iversen in goal

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Daniel Iversen

Daniel Iversen is in the right place at the tight time to stop Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Ex-City skipper Matt Elliott, talking on Matchday Live, said: “Çağlar Söyüncü tried to lead as best he could. He was physical strong aggressive, purposeful and up for the challenge. James Maddison was giving his absolute all. Jamie Vardy as well. The key player was Daniel Iversen. He made a couple of particularly excellent saves. He’s so long-limbed, isn’t he? I thought he was super tonight.”

Where does it leave us? – 16th in the Premier League

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Leicester City

Çağlar Söyüncü's goal is celebrated by the Foxes in front of the Spion Kop.

Leicester climb two places, to 16th, with four matches still to play. Dean Smith’s men are on 30 points, level with Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, who trail them on goal difference. Everton stay 19th on 29 and Southampton are bottom on 24.

Coming up – Fulham (A)

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Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy toasts his second goal in two games, which put City ahead in the game.

Leicester are next due in the capital for a clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage next Monday (3pm kick-off). Liverpool are in town seven days later, on Monday 15 May (8pm kick-off), as the Premier League season hurtles towards its conclusion. 

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Leicester City Crest





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