Dean Smith’s Leicester City side travelled to Elland Road on Tuesday, buoyed by their win against Wolves last time out. The Foxes rose out of the relegation zone with that win, and they’ll have been full of confidence as they headed north to face Leeds United – who aren’t safe themselves.
Leeds’ home form has been dire recently, as the Yorkshire side have shipped eleven goals in their last two games at Elland Road, with six of those coming courtesy of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Since then, they’ve also lost on the road – as Fulham emerged 2-1 winners at Craven Cottage. The Foxes have shown signs of promise though, putting out a convincing second half performance against Manchester City before taking all three points at the King Power on the weekend.
LEE: Meslier; Firpo, Cooper, Koch, Ayling; Roca, McKennie; Sinisterra, Rodrigo, Harrison; Bamford
LEI: Iversen; Kristiansen, Söyüncü, Faes, Castagne; Soumaré, Tielemans; Barnes, Maddison, Tetê; Iheanacho
After a chaotic opening to this relegation six-pointer, it was Leicester that took the lead through yet another Youri Tielemans wonderstrike. The Belgian hasn’t really impressed this season, but he fired the Foxes into the lead with a goal reminiscent of his FA Cup winner – powering a first-time effort into the the top-left corner from outside the box! Leicester’s joy was short-lived though, as a quick VAR review showed that Soumaré was offside in the buildup.
Dean Smith’s side looked set to put themselves on the front foot once more though, as Kelechi Iheanacho sent Harvey Barnes through on goal – though a great challenge from Liam Cooper nicked the ball away from the forward before he could get his shot off.
It was starting to become a dominant display from Leicester, as Iheanacho propelled a cross towards James Maddison at the back post. The Englishman stretched to make contact, though he could only divert it wide of the post.
Against the run of play, it was Leeds that took the lead in the 20th minute. Jack Harrison’s cross towards the back post was nodded home beautifully, as Luis Sinisterra rose highest to send the ball crashing past Daniel Iversen. However, the Colombian was forced off soon after following a collision with Söyüncü.
The Foxes were awarded with a chance to redeem themselves though, as Junior Firpo hauled James Maddison to the ground on the edge of the penalty area. The Englishman stepped up to fire the resulting free-kick towards goal, but his poor effort was sent well wide of the target. Leeds had grown into the game since finding the opener, and Leicester would need to capitalise on their chances if they were to take anything from this fixture.
Leicester seemed desperate to head into the interval level, and they were relentless in their search for an equaliser. The right flank seemed to the Foxes’ preferred avenue of attack, though their crosses were being handled with relative ease and Illan Meslier’s clean sheet never really looked under threat.
It had been an entertaining first half at Elland Road, with both chances enjoying their fair share of chances – but it was the hosts that held the advantage at the break. The Foxes continued their early pressure after Youri Tielemans’ disallowed goal, but the wind was knocked out of their sails following Luis Sinisterra’s strike – and it took Dean Smith’s side a while to recover.
Rodrigo looked to pounce on a mistake from Soumaré after the restart, as the Frenchman misjudged a header inside the area. Much to Leicester’s relief, the forward took a little too long to get a shot off, and the Foxes were able to recover and block his low strike.
There was a golden chance for the Foxes as the game approached the hour mark. Castagne’s cross from the right flank was flicked towards the back post by Wout Faes – and the ball looked to sail out before Iheanacho tucked it back to Barnes, though the referee allowed play to continue. Barnes’ strike was sent high and wide of the target though.
Dean Smith’s side won another free-kick in a dangerous area, as Iheanacho was fouled by Liam Cooper on the edge of the penalty area. The Nigerian had been played through on goal – but with nobody there to support him, he looked to jink it past the Leeds defender before tripping over his outstretched leg. James Maddison’s effort was fired straight into the Leeds wall though.
With less than twenty minutes left on the clock, Leicester looked to bring themselves level – though a spectacular double save from Illan Meslier preserved Leeds’ advantage for the time being. Iheanacho’s strike was parried away well by the Frenchman, who did well to recover and block Daka’s close-range effort. Minutes later, the Nigerian was involved once more, working his way towards goal following a pass from Maddison – but his strike was denied by Meslier at close-range.
Leicester managed to find the equaliser with ten minutes left to play though, as Jamie Vardy bagged his 135th Premier League goal to silence the Leeds faithful. The striker hadn’t scored since October, and he picked the perfect time to return to goalscoring form. Kelechi Iheanacho looked to wiggle his way through the heart of the Leeds midfield, eventually releasing the ball to Maddison following a challenge. Maddison picked out Vardy with a perfectly timed pass that skipped past Robin Koch, and the forward found the back of the net to bring the Foxes level.
His goalscoring exploits didn’t end there though, as he bagged his second of the night soon after. Patson Data – now operating on the left flank – picked out the forward, and the striker duly rifled an effort into the roof of the net from close range. However, the celebrations ended before they’d really began, as this time he was clearly offside and the goal was promptly chalked off by the linesman.
Spurred on by Leicester’s attacking exploits, Leeds surged forwards in a bid to reclaim all three points. Ayling looked to rifle a shot into the back of the net from the edge of the box, but a deflection saw it crash over the crossbar for a corner. Marc Roca rose highest from the set piece, nodding it towards goal but a magnificent save from Daniel Iversen was enough to deny Leeds – or was it? The ball looked set to trickle over the line, though a clearance from Kristiansen was enough to end the chance.
Somehow, the drama still wasn’t over, as Patrick Bamford squandered a golden opportunity to restore his side’s lead in the 90th minute! Following a corner, the ball eventually fell to the striker at the back post – and he really should have tucked it away, but he somehow skewed the ball wide!
With five minutes added on, there was plenty of time for either side to clinch a winner – and Leicester looked certain to do so, as Daka played in Vardy inside the box. The striker’s mazy run didn’t result in all too much though, and the flurry of rebounded efforts were also wasted.
Ultimately, the two sides had to settle for a point each – in a result that does more good for the bottom three than it does either of these two teams. Both Leeds and Leicester remain firmly in a relegation battle, though they’ll be motivated by excellent performances. The Foxes will play Everton on Monday at the King Power Stadium, while Javi Gracia’s Leeds will travel to Bournemouth on Sunday.