Premier League
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace2LeicesterLeicester City2

Crystal Palace 2-2 Leicester City

By Jack SkeltonBBC Sport
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?

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."

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).


Crystal Palace

Formation 4-2-3-1

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


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


Formation 4-4-2

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


  • 3Chilwell
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 7Musa
  • 13Amartey
  • 20Okazaki
  • 21Zieler
  • 22Gray
Mike Dean

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamLeicester
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crystal Palace 2, Leicester City 2.

  2. Full Time

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

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Martin Kelly.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Christian Fuchs.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Robert Huth.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Joel Ward.

  10. Post update

    Hand ball by Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace).

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. James McArthur replaces Wilfried Zaha.

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Foul by Demarai Gray (Leicester City).

  14. Post update

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

  15. Post update

    Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City).

  16. Substitution

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

  17. Post update

    Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

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

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Demarai Gray replaces Riyad Mahrez.


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