Sunday, October 21, 2018

Stoke City 2 – 2 Leicester City: Crouch’s Late Goal Saves Stoke As Foxes Extend Undefeated Streak To Five Games

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Stoke City came from behind twice, and managed to settle with a draw against Leicester City this Saturday at Bet365 Stadium. Vicente Iborra and Riyad Mahrez put The Foxes in front, but goals from Xherdan Shaqiri and Peter Crouch allowed the hosts to settle for a point in a tightly-contested affair. The draw certainly helps Leicester, as Claude Puel’s men have extended their undefeated streak up to five games now.

Leicester Goes To Top, But Stoke Equalised Before The Break

The match was pacey right from the start, as both squads played with a sense of urgency that forced them to adopt an attacking stance as soon as the ball started rolling. Mahrez and Jamie Vardy led the way for The Foxes, while Shaqiri and Mame Biram Diouf were the most active men on Stoke’s attacking line. But both sides managed to cancel each other properly, and that led to a lack of chances on both ends of the pitch. The first clear scoring opportunity came in the 29th, when Maxim Choupo-Moting tested Kasper Schmeichel with a shot from the edge of the box that was brilliantly saved by the Denmark international.

One would have thought the first half was set to end with a draw, but The Foxes had other plans. Following a corner kick from Mahrez, Iborra was at the right place at the right time to unleash a fierce strike past Jack Butland, putting the visitors deservedly on top. Stoke, however, reacted quicker than most expected, and they equalised only a few minutes afterwards. Choupo-Moting dismantled the opposing defence with a lovely through ball that found Shaqiri, and the Swiss international took full advantage of the chance and placed the ball out of Schmeichel’s reach to even things up.

The first half ended with a 1-1 draw, but the match was far from decided.

Crouch’s Late Goal Rescues Point For Stoke

Leicester kept dominating the contest in the second 45 minutes. Mahrez continued to thrive on the final meters, and he constantly generated problems to Stoke’s defensive line. It only seemed a matter of time before he found the back of the net, and finally accomplish that feat in the 60th minute when he capped a spectacular solo effort with a shot from inside the box. A long ball from Wilfred Ndidi found the Algeria international, who quickly found his way on the right side of the box and placed the ball past Butland from a tight angle. It was Mahrez’s third goal in the past five Premier League matches, and he is quickly re-discovering the form that made him one of the best playmakers in the league only two years ago.

Leicester seemed on the way to secure a massive win on the road. but Stoke’s solution was on the bench. Crouch entered the game in the 69th minute, and the towering striker only needed a few minutes to leave his mark on the game. He nodded the ball home following a corner kick from Shaqiri, and once again the veteran striker emerged as the team’s savior. Crouch came out of nowhere to place the ball past Schmeichel, making it 2-2 midway into the second half.

Leicester could have escaped with the win in the final minutes, though. Vardy sent an effort wide in the 78th minute, Mahrez kept pulling the strings on the attack, and The Foxes looked in control during the final minutes. But their biggest chance came nearing the end of the game, as a goal from Kelechi Iheanacho – who came off the bench – was disallowed due to an offside position. It was the right call from the referee, though.

Final Thoughts

The game ended with a 2-2 draw, although Leicester certainly deserved better luck. They looked on top through most of the game, but their lack of accuracy prevented them from getting a better result. As for Stoke, they did not play at their best but managed to escape with a point thanks to their reactions and their never-give-up-attitude.

Leicester’s draw allowed them to extend their undefeated streak up to five games across all competitions, and now sit in 12th place with 13 points. Meanwhile, Stoke remain a fairly inconsistent side and sit in 14th place, one point behind the Foxes.

Match Report

Stoke City: Butland (5); Zouma (6), Shawcross (6), Wimmer (6); Diouf (6) (Berahino (-), 86′), Fletcher (5), Allen (7), Pieters (6); Shaqiri (8), Sobhi (5) (Crouch (7), 69′); Choupo-Moting (6)

Leicester City: Schmeichel (6); Simpson (6), Morgan (5), Maguire (5), Fuchs (5); Mahrez (8), Iborra (7) (King (5), 66′), Ndidi (6), Gray (6) (Albrighton (-), 80′); Okazaki (5) (Iheanacho (6), 58′); Vardy (6)

Goals: Iborra (0-1, 33′), Shaqiri (1-1, 39′), Mahrez (1-2, 60′), Crouch (2-2, 73′)

Referee: Robert Madley. Jonathan Moss replaced him during the game.

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Attendance: 29,602


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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