Premier League
Crystal Palace2Leicester2

Crystal Palace 2-2 Leicester City

Palace striker Christian Benteke
Palace striker Christian Benteke gets above the Leicester defence to head in his side's equaliser at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace edged further towards Premier League survival as they fought back from two goals down in an absorbing draw with Leicester at Selhurst Park.

The Foxes took the lead on six minutes as the hosts' lax defending allowed Robert Huth to rise and head in Christian Fuchs' long throw.

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare had opted not to rest the majority of his stars before Tuesday's Champions League return against Atletico Madrid, and was vindicated when Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy combined to make it 2-0.

The visitors broke from a Palace corner, with Mahrez setting Vardy free before the England striker cut back inside former Foxes defender Jeffrey Schlupp to curl his shot beyond Wayne Hennessey.

It was a goal reminiscent of Leicester's title-winning exploits last season, but this year's defensive frailties returned less than two minutes later when Yohan Cabaye reacted quickest to Schlupp's blocked shot to sweep home.

Christian Benteke completed Palace's comeback on 70 minutes, overpowering Yohan Benalouane to convert Andros Townsend's cross, though Danny Drinkwater went close to a winner for the visitors late on.

A point gained or two lost?

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Palace fightback was tremendous - Allardyce

Both Shakespeare and Palace counterpart Sam Allardyce were asked after the game whether the draw was a point gained or two points lost.

Allardyce called it a "precious point" while Shakespeare was more unsure, but both will ultimately reflect on this game as an entertaining facet of two remarkable runs that have taken their seemingly doomed, under-performing sides to almost guaranteed safety.

For both sides, this was a first draw in a run of seven Premier League games also featuring one defeat and five victories.

It was perhaps fitting, then, that they were so evenly matched.

The pace and trickery of Wilfried Zaha and Townsend tested Leicester's resolute defence under Shakespeare, while Mahrez, Vardy and the excellent Marc Albrighton were able to do the same to Allardyce's organised Eagles.

Though their recent runs should not disguise the fact this has been a season of under-achievement in the league for two talented sides, with Palace now seven points above the relegation zone and Leicester two points further clear, the unthinkable should be avoided.

Shakespeare's latest audition

Having fielded a much-changed line-up for a 4-2 defeat at Everton prior to Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg in Madrid, Shakespeare backed up his conviction the Foxes are not yet safe in the league by making only two changes.

It was the latest bold decision from Claudio Ranieri's former assistant as he attempts to secure the job on a long-term basis.

Again, Shakespeare's judgement proved sound as Palace looked entirely unprepared to face a side that could hurt them both on the break and from set-pieces, with Fuchs' long throw a potent weapon throughout.

Should they come up short against Atletico, who lead the tie 1-0, the Foxes players may rue their involvement in what was - at times - a frantic match.

But, in many ways, playing an untypically strong team before a crucial European tie was a typically Leicester thing to do - confounding expectations and playing with nerveless verve and spirit - all things oddly lacking this season under Ranieri.

Benteke gives Palace extra edge

While Zaha, Townsend and Jason Puncheon were not short of trickery to menace the Leicester defence through the middle, Palace's reward ultimately came from getting the ball wide and delivering well-placed crosses.

With Huth in fine form, that tactic would have been futile but for Benteke, whose physical presence finally won out.

The Belgium striker refused to be denied, climbing on the back of Benalouane - still deputising for the injured Wes Morgan - to power his header past Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester were livid - Vardy claiming Benteke had used his team-mate "like a stepladder" - but could not claim to be surprised, with Benteke having threatened all game.

Benteke now has 12 Premier League goals this season and three in his past four games, giving Palace the extra dimension that should see them to safety.

Man of the match - Marc Albrighton (Leicester)

Marc Albrighton
Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend, Robert Huth and Jamie Vardy all stood out but Leicester winger Marc Albrighton was excellent, shielding his back four, launching counter-attacks and covering more ground than any other player

Manager reaction

Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce: "The point feels like a win. It's a tremendous fightback from the players and that wouldn't have happened when I first arrived - it just shows the change of mood of the players.

"We've got 35 points now and it's been a fantastic run of results.

"I spend a bit of time boring the players with getting the basics right but they are the basis of any result - for those Leicester goals we didn't get the basics right, although Jamie Vardy took his goal brilliantly."

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Craig Shakespeare says Foxes must recover quickly

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare: "There is a tinge of disappointment as we just needed to manage the game better after our second goal.

"For their second, I've seen them given as a free-kick - Benteke is riding on Benalouane's back - but there's nothing we can do about it as the referee has given it.

"We've not got enough of a gap [to the bottom three]. Teams can go on a run, as we've proved, so we need to keep that momentum going."

Palace home fortunes improved - stats

  • Palace are unbeaten in their past four Premier League games at Selhurst Park (W3 D1), their longest unbeaten streak since February 2014 (four games unbeaten).
  • Leicester have taken more points under Shakespeare in his three Premier League away games (four) than in the previous 13 managed by Ranieri (three).
  • Townsend has been directly involved in seven Premier League goals this season (three goals, four assists); his best return in a top-flight campaign.
  • Benteke has scored 21 Premier League headed goals since his debut in September 2012; only Olivier Giroud (24) has scored more.
  • Vardy has been involved in eight goals in his past seven Premier League appearances since Shakespeare's appointment (six goals, two assists).

What's next?

Palace travel to Liverpool on Sunday, 23 April (16:30 BST), before another tough encounter, hosting Tottenham on Wednesday, 26 April (20:00 BST).

Leicester host Atletico Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday (19:45 BST), before travelling to Arsenal on Wednesday, 26 April (19:45 BST).

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

  • 13Hennessey
  • 2Ward
  • 34Kelly
  • 12Sakho
  • 31SchluppSubstituted forvan Aanholtat 69'minutes
  • 28Milivojevic
  • 7Cabaye
  • 10Townsend
  • 42Puncheon
  • 11ZahaSubstituted forMcArthurat 84'minutes
  • 17C Benteke

Substitutes

  • 1Speroni
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 4Flamini
  • 9Campbell
  • 18McArthur
  • 26Sako
  • 27Delaney

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 17SimpsonBooked at 34mins
  • 29BenalouaneSubstituted forChilwellat 76'minutes
  • 6Huth
  • 28Fuchs
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forGrayat 75'minutes
  • 25Ndidi
  • 10KingBooked at 63minsSubstituted forDrinkwaterat 64'minutes
  • 11Albrighton
  • 23Ulloa
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 3Chilwell
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 7Musa
  • 13Amartey
  • 20Okazaki
  • 21Zieler
  • 22Gray
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
25,504

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home15
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away5
Fouls
Home10
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 2, Leicester City 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 2, Leicester City 2.

Attempt missed. Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Martin Kelly.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Christian Fuchs.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Robert Huth.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Joel Ward.

Hand ball by Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace).

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. James McArthur replaces Wilfried Zaha.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Demarai Gray (Leicester City).

Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City).

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Ben Chilwell replaces Yohan Benalouane because of an injury.

Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

Demarai Gray (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andros Townsend.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Demarai Gray replaces Riyad Mahrez.

Attempt missed. Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City).

Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Andros Townsend.

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 2, Leicester City 2. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) header from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Andros Townsend with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Patrick van Aanholt replaces Jeffrey Schlupp.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Jeffrey Schlupp.

Attempt blocked. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Joel Ward.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Daniel Drinkwater replaces Andy King.

Booking

Andy King (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Andy King (Leicester City).

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Yohan Cabaye with a cross following a set piece situation.

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Yohan Benalouane (Leicester City).

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Leicester City).

Attempt missed. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Leicester City 2. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea31243465254075
2Tottenham32218368224671
3Man City32197663352864
4Liverpool32189568402863
5Everton33169860372357
6Man Utd301512346242257
7Arsenal30166861392254
8West Brom32128123941-244
9Southampton31117133740-340
10Watford32117143752-1540
11Stoke33109143748-1139
12Leicester32107154153-1237
13West Ham33107164459-1537
14Burnley33106173347-1436
15Crystal Palace32105174452-835
16Bournemouth3398164563-1835
17Hull3386193467-3330
18Swansea3384213768-3128
19Middlesbrough31412152237-1524
20Sunderland3256212658-3221
View full Premier League table

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