Yunus Akgün

Late Sheff Weds Strike Denies City

Leicester City were held to a 1-1 draw by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Wednesday evening, with the Owls striking in added time against the Sky Bet Championship leaders.
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Abdul Fatawu’s first-half opener put City on course for three points in south Yorkshire, but Danny Röhl’s hosts were a threat throughout and got their reward at the death through Jeff Hendrick. This is Leicester’s first draw of the season at the 18th time of asking. The Foxes, albeit disappointed with this result, remain top of the Championship table, but see their advantage over Ipswich Town cut to a single point, ahead of travelling to upwardly-mobile West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. 

Six changes to the XI included a return for Jamie Vardy, who netted a brace in Saturday’s success over Watford, while Harry Winks was also back after his one-game suspension. Within seconds of the first whistle, the Championship’s basement club almost stunned City. Barry Bannan, the Owls’ experienced captain, robbed Ricardo Pereira of the ball and was free in the box, with only goalkeeper Mads Hermansen in his way. The Scotland international, though, poked the ball wide in front of an away end of 3,811 relieved Foxes fans. A high press was serving Röhl’s hosts well. Moments later, Bannan intercepted Hermansen’s pass and only the quick thinking of Jannik Vestergaard – scampering back to shelter an open goal – prevented Wednesday from going ahead. Hermansen was also called into action to catch Bambo Diaby’s header, from a Will Vaulks free-kick on the right channel, as the south Yorkshire club started brightest on a bitingly cold night. 

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Abdul Fatawu

Abdul Fatawu's second Leicester City goal gave the visitors the lead.

Leicester had to wait until the 15th minute for their first true opening. Winks had fired high and wide earlier on, but Diaby needed to get in the way of Ricardo’s curler after considered inter-play from the visitors. Vardy – playing against the club where his magical football journey began – then nodded Fatawu’s free-kick over Cameron Dawson’s crossbar. Enzo Maresca’s side were ahead on 23 minutes. Stephy Mavididi’s cross was too high for both Vardy and Cesare Casadei in the middle, but Fatawu was lurking at the back post. With time to spare, the Ghanaian chested the ball down and slammed it in at the near post – netting his second goal for the Club since joining on loan from Sporting Lisbon. 

The Wednesday chances didn’t subside, however. When George Byers fizzed the ball across the area, all it needed was a touch from Patterson, but the former Hearts and Cardiff City man couldn’t stretch his leg out far enough. Vestergaard also bravely got in the way of a powerful half-volley launched from Patterson’s boot later on. Wout Faes, who went down injured midway through the first half, made way at the break, with James Justin his replacement. Röhl’s Owls continued to be a nuisance for City’s defenders, when Dominic Iorfa’s low cross was sent goalwards by Byers. It was too close to Hermansen mind you, with the Dane making a simple stop at his near post. 

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Jamie Vardy

City struggled to carve out goalscoring openings at Hillsborough.

Midway through the second half, Dawson caught Vardy’s looping header inside the penalty area. Mavididi also blazed over from range. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Kasey McAteer and Wilfred Ndidi were on the pitch for the final stages – with Hamza Choudhury joining later yet – all in an attempt to inject fresh energy into the side. One of the new faces, McAteer, was unlucky not to grab a second Leicester goal when Vardy lofted the ball into the six-yard box. The Academy graduate, however, couldn’t get enough power or precision on his shot and it trickled wide. With three minutes to play, Wednesday tested Hermansen again, with Marvin Johnson drilling a low drive straight at City’s No.30 in the visiting net. 

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Jannik Vestergaard

Jannik Vestergaard had a last-minute chance to restore Leicester's lead.

Ashley Fletcher forced Hermansen into a much more taxing save in the first of four added minutes, the rebound of which needed to be hacked away by Vestergaard too. The home side had pushed and pushed throughout – and will feel vindicated to have rescued a point at the end. It was second-half substitute Hendrick’s composed finish which did the damage, sparking jubilant scenes at Hillsborough. The Foxes still had one last-gasp opportunity to take all three points home with them. Vestergaard leapt into the air and got a powerful header onto Dewsbury-Hall’s free-kick, but Dawson made the stop with the last action of the game. Frustration for Maresca and his side – a first draw of the season on matchday 18. 

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