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Leicester City 2-2 West Bromwich Albion: Foxes drop points in title race after being held by West Brom

Published 01/03/2016

Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) joins the celebration after Leicester City's Welsh midfielder Andy King scored their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 1, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) joins the celebration after Leicester City's Welsh midfielder Andy King scored their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 1, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Leicester City players celebrate their team's first goal by Danny Drinkwater (obscured) during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Leicester City's Daniel Drinkwater scores his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. PA
Leicester City's Welsh midfielder Andy King (R) celebrates scoring their second goal with Leicester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (C) during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 1, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Salomon Rondon of West Bromwich Albion scores his team's first goal past Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Claudio Yacob of West Bromwich Albion and Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Danny Drinkwater of Leicester City scores his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City and Darren Fletcher of West Bromwich Albion compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
West Bromwich Albion's Argentinian midfielder Claudio Yacob (L) fouls Leicester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (R) during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 1, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Matchday mascots wave a flag prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Salomon Rondon of West Bromwich Albion and Robert Huth of Leicester City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Referee Mark Clattenburg (right) checks the pitch before the Barclays Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. PA
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: A Filbert Way signpost is pictured outside the ground prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Scarves displaying the name of Jamie Vardy of Leicester City are sold on a merchandise stall prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: A scarf showing the names of the opposing managers Claudio Ranieri of Leicester City and Tony Pulis of WBA is sold on a merchandise stall prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has lost just three league games this season

Leicester dropped two priceless points in their quest for the Barclays Premier League title after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by West Brom.

The Foxes are three points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who go to West Ham on Wednesday, after being frustrated by the battling Baggies.

Goals from midfield duo Danny Drinkwater and Andy King cancelled out Salomon Rondon's early opener before Craig Gardner's classy free-kick earned a point for Albion.

Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki hit the bar for the hosts, who were the better side, and Wes Morgan blew a glorious chance to win it late on.

Claudio Ranieri's side will now face an anxious wait when Spurs go to Upton Park, where a win for their title rivals will be enough to send them top on goal difference.

The Foxes' pre-match points tally of 56 was already their highest ever in the top flight but cracks showed despite their late 1-0 weekend win over Norwich.

The Canaries stifled Leicester for much of the game and Albion set about doing the same early on before taking a surprise early lead.

Darren Fletcher spotted the run of Rondon after 11 minutes and the striker out-muscled Robert Huth in a heavyweight clash on the edge of the area before poking his shot through the legs of the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel.

In doing so, Albion became just the third visiting side in the league this season - after Tottenham and Aston Villa - to score first at the King Power Stadium.

It sparked Leicester into action and Okazaki volleyed over from six yards.

A flag to show support for Claudio Ranieri, manager of Leicester City is displayed prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
A flag to show support for Claudio Ranieri, manager of Leicester City is displayed prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion at The King Power Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Vardy should have levelled on 27 minutes when, unmarked, he headed straight at Ben Foster from Riyad Mahrez's cross.

The Foxes, though, were building momentum and grabbed the equaliser three minutes later.

A corner routine was worked back to Drinkwater 25 yards out and the midfielder's drive clipped Jonas Olsson to loop in over Foster.

The goal, Leicester's 50th in the league this season, was fortuitous but the hosts capitalised and maintained their drive, only for Vardy's header to smack the bar after 36 minutes.

Since levelling the hosts had been the better side - although nowhere near their fluid selves- but did find a second in first-half stoppage time.

There had been little flowing football from the hosts but the Foxes conjured a sweeping move when Marc Albrighton's crossfield pass found Mahrez and he teed up King to steer in from 15 yards.

The midfielder, in the team because of N'Golo Kante's hamstring injury, had not scored in the league for 11 months.

But Albion hit back just four minutes after the break when, following Mahrez's handball, Gardner curled a brilliant free-kick past the motionless Schmeichel from 25 yards.

It allowed the game to take a similar pattern to the first half with Albion scoring early and Leicester pressing.

And just like the first period the Foxes hit the bar when Okazaki shuddered the woodwork with a 57th-minute header.

It was a glaring miss from the striker but the chances kept flowing as Jeff Schlupp's drive deflected at Foster minutes later.

Rondon then hacked over from close range as the game opened up before Foster denied Vardy - after he outpaced Gareth McAuley - with 20 minutes left.

Both sides pushed for the next goal, with Gardner shooting over and Huth heading wide, but the Foxes looked more likely to grab a priceless winner.

And, with four minutes left, Morgan almost found it when Olsson slipped in the area but the Foxes' skipper was denied by Foster from 10 yards.

Mahrez then volleyed wildly over and Leonardo Ulloa could not force the ball in during stoppage time as Leicester were forced to settle for a point.

Match preview

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has told his players they must learn to deal with the pressure which comes as league leaders.

The Foxes lead the Barclays Premier League by two points ahead of Tuesday's visit of West Brom to the King Power Stadium.

They have maintained their shock title challenge all season, losing just three league games, and beat Norwich 1-0 on Saturday to stay top.

Ranieri believes Tottenham are favourites to win the league, with Mauricio Pochettino's men lying second following a come-from-behind win against Swansea on Sunday.

But while Ranieri played down his side's chances of winning the league, he insisted the Foxes need to show they can cope with the added attention they are receiving.

He said: "I don't ban (any title talk). They must grow up with the pressure, that is good, but for us it's not important to win the title. It's important to improve our performance match after match.

"We don't think about it, we are thinking about what we are doing well and badly. We try to improve what was bad from the last match."

Leicester relied on a late Leonardo Ulloa goal to beat Norwich after being frustrated by the battling Canaries but hit back following their previous 2-1 defeat to Arsenal.

And Ranieri, who is without hamstring injury victim N'Golo Kante for their next two games, expects mid-table West Brom to pose similar problems.

He said: "When you play against teams like Norwich, and West Bromwich, we have to be patient and find the solution. The first match against West Brom was tough. They scored first, and we slowly got better. I am waiting for the same this time.

"We have to continue to play our football, be intelligent, and take the right moment.

"It's important to concentrate. They are very good on the counter-attack with (Salomon) Rondon, (Stephane) Sessegnon and (Saido) Berahino, and they are also very dangerous on the corner. They've scored eight or nine goals from set-plays.

"If we take a clean sheet we can do something. They have a lot of players who impress me.

"Did you see Norwich? They started the match with the long ball and said 'come on then'. We have to patient and find the right solution."

Online Editors

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