Leicester gain most from draw in English relegation thriller
Leicester City and Everton ended a riveting relegation thriller with a 2-2 draw. Thanks to that one point, Leicester has climbed to 16th place, but is certainly not out of relegation worries yet. Everton are nineteenth, with four games left to play.
That the stakes are high for both teams in the final rounds of Premier League play was immediately evident in the match. Both Leicester and Everton went full steam ahead, hoping to still avoid relegation. The last three teams are relegated to the Championship.
It became a riveting battle, in which Everton dealt the first blow at the King Power Stadium. The ball, after a slight foul by Timothy Castagne, went on the dot and Dominic Calvert-Lewin cashed in on the outside chance.
Leicester, national champions seven years ago, did not want to be led to the slaughter, however, and fought their way back into the match. Çaglar Söyüncü gave the home side hope again by sliding in the equalizer.
Jamie Vardy, who has played at Leicester for 11 years and hosted the championship party in his home in 2016, brought even more joy to the home crowd. He was sent off by James Maddison with a beautiful cross, hooded out goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and coolly shot in.
Deep into injury time of the first half, Leicester even had a chance to go into halftime with an even bigger lead. A handball allowed Maddison to touch down from 11 yards.
Pickford, however, grabbed his water bottle, which has notes on the opponent’s penalty takers, and knew exactly where Maddison was going to shoot: straight down the middle. So the Everton goalkeeper chose no angle and it paid off. He prevented the 3-1.
Everton kept hope as a result and came out of the locker room combative. That resulted in Alex Iwobi’s equalizer. He shot hard and low into the corner, leaving Daniel Iversen defenseless.
Both teams then had opportunities to regain the lead. On Leicester’s side, Vardy went close to scoring his second of the evening, but his header was cleared off the line by James Tarkowski.
At the other end, Dwight McNeil, among others, found himself in a promising position. His effort, however, changed direction and went wide. Abdoulaye Doucouré’s shot in the closing stages was between the posts, but could only just be tapped wide by Iversen.
Despite the fighting spirit, which was clearly present in both teams, no more goals were scored and it remained 2-2.