Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Leicester City 2 Middlesbrough 2: Slimani on the spot to snatch draw

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Nov 2016

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Substitute Islam Slimani scored a last-gasp penalty as Leicester City netted twice from the spot to snatch a 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough.

The hosts – whose 20-match unbeaten run at home in the Premier League was ended by West Brom last time out – looked set for a seventh top-flight loss of the campaign after an Alvaro Negredo double eclipsed Riyad Mahrez’s penalty.

But Claudio Ranieri’s men refused to lie down and when Marten de Roon clumsily fouled Wes Morgan in the box at the death, Slimani – on for the ineffective Jamie Vardy – kept his cool to level it up.

It was harsh on a Boro side who remain without a win on the road since beating Sunderland in August, while Leicester can reflect on a week in which they won again in the Champions League and halted a run of successive Premier League defeats.

A very different story had looked set to unfold when Negredo ended his 977-minute scoring drought to break the deadlock early on, the Spaniard coolly slotting a second 19 minutes from time after Mahrez’s spot-kick leveller.

That lead, which was intact until the 94th minute, was justified for Aitor Karanka’s men, who signalled their early intent as Adama Traore threatened with a strong run into the box before forcing a near-post save from Ron-Robert Zieler, while Adam Forshaw fired wide immediately after.

Have made much the brighter start, the visitors took the lead in the 13th minute when Negredo expertly found the top-right corner from Gaston Ramirez’s pass at the end of a swift counter-attack.

Leicester rallied to mount a response and Victor Valdes had to be alert to claim a dangerous Marc Albrighton delivery as Robert Huth was lurking.

The Spanish goalkeeper was a bystander when Shinji Okazaki’s overhead kick struck the crossbar following excellent work from Mahrez in the build-up.

Any frustration the hosts felt after that near-miss quickly dissipated when they were awarded a debatable 34th-minute penalty.

Calum Chambers clearly handled the ball in the area, but looked to have been fouled by fellow defender Morgan as he did so.

Mahrez stepped up and converted via the inside of the right-hand upright to level the scores.

Ranieri’s side should have gone in at half-time ahead, but Ramirez got back to crowd out Vardy as he looked to steer home Okazaki’s square pass.

The hosts looked to apply second-half pressure and Slimani was introduced for the peripheral Vardy just past the hour mark.

It was Karanka’s charges who were next to create an opening, though, with Ramirez surging forward before teeing up Negredo, whose shot was blocked by Huth.

A dipping Okazaki shot on the turn required a routine save from Valdes at the other end as the game remained in the balance.

Negredo then swung it in Boro’s favour in the 72nd minute, finishing brilliantly from Forshaw’s lofted pass down the right-hand channel.

But it was Slimani who had the final say, De Roon needlessly bringing down Morgan and the Algerian ensuring the spoils were shared.

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