Leicester City and Everton both picked up a point in a pivotal game in the relegation race in the Premier League. Both clubs held a lead at the King Power, but the score settled at two games a piece.
In truth, a draw is a fair result. Both clubs had stints of pressure. Leicester may have held more of the ball, but Everton tested the Leicester goalkeeper, Daniel Iversen, more. The result leaves Everton in 19th, a lone point out of safety. In fact, it is just a point behind Leicester City, which leaped over Leeds and Nottingham Forest into 16th. However, the Foxes have the best goal differential of the five clubs in the relegation battle.
Foxes fight through frantic first half
The desperation on both sides was clear early on. With just four games left after this game at the King Power, both Everton and Leicester wanted to jump on their opponent. It was Everton to find the breakthrough just 15 minutes in. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who won the penalty to begin with, blasted beyond Iversen in the Leicester net. It was just Calvert-Lewin’s second goal of the previous campaign, as the striker battles through injuries.
However, Leicester held the lead at the half courtesy of two goals in 12 minutes. The first came from an unlikely source. Çağlar Söyüncü, the center back who is leaving for Atletico Madrid in the summer, pounced on a loose ball to level the scoreline. Then, not long after, Jamie Vardy found a lead for Leicester. In classic Vardy fashion, the Englishman’s speed got in behind the Everton defense. He made a simple move around a helpless Jordan Pickford and cozied the ball into the net.
Even though three goals in one half is a good return for goals in 45 minutes, there was potential for many more. For example, in one frantic minute. Calvert-Lewin somehow missed a tap-in, as he played the ball into Iversen after Dwight McNeil set up Calvert-Lewin. On the ensuing clearance, Vardy was one-on-one against Michael Keane. Vardy created enough space to dink it over Pickford. The ball clipped the top of the crossbar, though, and went out of play.
Culminating the first half was another glorious chance. After a handball in his own box by Keane, Jordan Pickford saved a tame shot from James Maddison.
Everton finds a way back
Leicester would rue that penalty miss almost instantly. Just ten minutes into the second half, Everton leveled the game. McNeil played a high cross in toward Calvert-Lewin, the centerpiece of Everton’s advances. Wout Faes and Söyüncü challenged Calvert-Lewin in the air. However, the deflection ballooned over to Alex Iwobi. Iwobi calmly played the ball into the bottom left corner of the net on his first touch. It had to be a perfectly placed shot, too, as Iversen was near-unbeatable for much of the game.
For example, in the 75th minute, a defensive misplay by Söyüncü yielded a race to the ball between Iversen and Calvert-Lewin. The Danish shot-stopper put his body on the line to block Calvert-Lewin’s attempt and keep the game knotted at two.
With four minutes left in the 90, Iversen pulled off one more great save. Abdoulaye Doucoure let fly from just outside the 18-yard box to the lower right side of Iversen. A strong hand met the shot and repelled it wide.
Leicester City and Everton both firmly in relegation battle
The clubs at the bottom of the table now have just four games remaining. Both Leicester City and Everton have some challenging games on the way in. Leicester City has games against Fulham, Liverpool, Newcastle and West Ham. Everton, on the other hand, has Brighton, Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bournemouth. Comparatively, Leeds has a harder way home. Manchester City, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham are the last four games for Leeds, which could sack its manager soon.
It should be an exciting couple of weeks as the Premier League season comes to a close.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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