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Ranieri drawing some comfort as Leicester are held

Leicester City 2 - West Brom 2

By Nick Mashiter

Published 02/03/2016

No go: Leicester striker Jamie Vardy couldn’t find a way through against West Brom at the King Power Stadium last night, stopped on this occasion by Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley
No go: Leicester striker Jamie Vardy couldn’t find a way through against West Brom at the King Power Stadium last night, stopped on this occasion by Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri declared himself satisfied despite watching West Brom hold his Premier League leaders to a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium.

Salomon Rondon gave the Baggies an early lead before the Foxes turned the game on its head with goals from Danny Drinkwater and Andy King.

West Brom hit back through a stunning Craig Gardner free-kick, however, and held on despite a barrage of pressure from Leicester, who hit the crossbar on several occasions.

Tottenham can now go top with a win against West Ham tonight, but Ranieri said: "I am very pleased with our performance. They played so well, there was no panic after the first goal.

"We played much better than we did against Norwich. I am satisfied with the performance. Sometimes you can do everything but the ball just doesn't want to go in.

"I want to create a lot of chances and sooner or later we score. Tonight wasn't the right moment but we are alive and we fight to the end. Everybody is ready to fight, to play well, to create chances. Only the victory was missing.

"Nothing negative. We tried to do everything and well done to my players. I love this, we never, never give up.

"We always try to see the best in every situation. Every team plays football and we have to find the solution and try to win. It is important not to lose the match too as they could have counter attacked."

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 lead.

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

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

Jamie Vardy should have levelled on 27 minutes when, unmarked, he headed straight at Ben Foster. 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.

The hosts maintained their drive, only for Vardy's header to smack the bar after 36 minutes.

They then conjured a sweeping move when Marc Albrighton's crossfield pass found Riyad Mahrez and he teed up King to steer in from 15 yards.

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.

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

With four minutes left, Wes Morgan almost found a winner when Olsson slipped in the area but the Foxes' skipper was denied. Mahrez then volleyed wildly over and Leonardo Ulloa could not fire home in stoppage time.

LEICESTER: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs (Gray 79), Mahrez, Drinkwater, King, Albrighton (Schlupp 63), Okazaki (Ulloa 63), Vardy.

Goals: Drinkwater 30, King 45

Subs not used: Amartey, Wasilewski, Schwarzer, Inler.

WEST BROM: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Chester, Sessegnon (Sandro 90), Fletcher, Yacob, Gardner (McClean 83), Rondon (Anichebe 90), Berahino.

Goals: Rondon 11, Gardner 50

Subs not used: Myhill, Gamboa, Lambert, Pritchard.

Man of the match: Drinkwater

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Belfast Telegraph

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