EPL relegation rivals Leicester and Everton draw 2-2
LEICESTER, England (AP) Leicester and Everton remained in serious relegation danger in the English Premier League after their thrilling 2-2 draw on Monday.
Alex Iwobi’s 54th-minute volley secured a point for Everton, which stayed in next-to-last place with four matches left to play as the team bids to extend its 69-year stay in the top division.
Leicester, the league champion only seven years ago, moved out of the bottom three but only on goal difference ahead of Leeds and Nottingham Forest, with all three teams a point clear of Everton. Forest dropped into the relegation zone.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin converted a penalty he won himself after getting barged in the back by Timothy Castagne to put Everton ahead in the 15th minute.
Caglar Soyuncu equalized in the 22nd, hooking in a finish as he slipped after fellow center back Wout Faes headed the ball back across the face of goal.
Leicester took the lead for the first time in the 33rd when James Maddison slipped in Jamie Vardy, who ran behind Everton’s defense, rounded goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and converted.
In a wild end to the half, Calvert-Lewin somehow failed to score from three meters out and with the goal at his mercy, before Leicester immediately launched a counterattack and Vardy clipped a shot against the crossbar.
Moments later, Everton captain Seamus Coleman sustained what appeared to be a serious right leg injury following a clumsy challenge by Boubakary Soumare, and needed to be taken off on a stretcher.
“It doesn’t look too good,” Everton manager Sean Dyche said, "but we’ll wait and see. He’s been terrific so it’s a loss for us.”
And there was still time before the halftime whistle for Maddison to have a penalty saved by Pickford in the eighth minute of stoppage time after Everton defender Michael Keane blocked a cross from Harvey Barnes with his outstretched arm.
TV footage showed Pickford's water bottle has statistics on where a trio of Leicester penalty-takers - Youri Tielemans, Vardy and Maddison - have struck their penalties. The graphics appeared to show there was a 60% likelihood of Maddison hitting the spot kick down the middle and he did exactly that, with Pickford easily stopping it.
“I did my homework,” the England goalkeeper said.
After Iwobi’s equalizer, Leicester had the better of the chances but Vardy had a header cleared off the line and was narrowly wide with a shot after Pickford was dispossessed while attempting to clear outside his area.
Everton has a tough finish, with games against Brighton away, Manchester City at home, Wolverhampton away and Bournemouth at home.
Leicester faces Fulham, Liverpool, Newcastle and West Ham in its final four games.
“We knew today’s result wouldn’t define what happens,” interim Leicester manager Dean Smith said. "We come out of the bottom three. Four games to go, 12 points to play for.”
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Updated May 1, 2023