Crystal Palace 2:2 Leicester City
City went 2-0 up at Selhurst Park on Saturday, but had to settle for a point as Palace struck back…
Craig Shakespeare’s balancing act continued, with points still needed to ensure Premier League survival, and a Champions League quarter-final awaiting on Tuesday.
He opted for minimal changes, with King and Ulloa in for Drinkwater and Okazaki.
City got off to a great start, winning all the early challenges and putting Palace on the back foot, before taking a 6th minute lead. Fuchs delivered a long throw from the left and Huth rose above the Palace defence to nod home from close range.
This jolted Palace into life and they began to press forward.
Huth blocked a Zaha shot, and then Schmeichel made a near post save from Benteke, the ball looping up before Huth ushered it away from the far post.
Puncheon then had a shot blocked by Huth before louds penalty appeals were turned down when a Townsend shot hit Albrighton on the arm.
Zaha volleyed wide, and Simpson picked up a booking, but City took their lead down the tunnel with them after some solid defending.
City began the second half brightly, Vardy setting up Mahrez for an off-target effort, before they extended their lead in the 52nd minute.
As a Palace corner was cleared, Mahrez sent Vardy on a run into the area. He cut inside Schlupp before firing a shot across Hennessey. Although the Palace keeper got a hand to it he couldn’t keep it out and Vardy celebrated in front of the travelling fans.
However, this two goal cushion only lasted for two minutes. City failed to deal with a Zaha cross from the right, Schlupp slipped over as he attempted to shoot, but the ball went straight to Cabaye who slotted it past Schmeichel.
Palace began to pile on the pressue in pursuit of an equaliser and Huth made a vital block on a Zaha cross.
King was then booked for a foul on Townsend, before being replaced by Drinkwater.
Mahrez then had a chance that was deflected wide.
City lost the lead with 20 minutes to go when Townsend swung a cross in from the left and Benteke headed home from close in. Protests about him climbing on Benalouane to reach it were waved away.
At the other end the ball dropped for Ulloa in the area, but he stabbed his shot a yard wide of the right hand post.
Craig Shakespeare then made a couple of changes, bringing on Gray for Mahrez and Chilwell for Benalouane.
City dealt with a Cabaye free kick and a Townsend cross, while a Van Aanholt clearance went straight at Drinkwater, but he couldn’t direct his shot on target.
Both sides had to be content with a point, which was disappointing after City had gone two goals up, but was another step towards safety.
Although City were nine points clear of the relegation zone Shakespeare still exercised caution: “We need more points because we’re never quite sure what can happen in football. Teams can go on a run – as we’ve proved.”
Attention now turns to Tuesday night’s Champions League game, which will have to be faced without Huth, who’d been a rock in defence once again…
Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Sakho, Schlupp (Van Aanholt 69), Milivojevic, Cabaye, Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha (McArthur 84), Benteke. Subs Not Used: Speroni, Flamini, Campbell, Sako, Delaney.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane (Chilwell 76), Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 75), Ndidi, King (Drinkwater 64), Albrighton, Ulloa, Vardy. Subs Not Used: Musa, Amartey, Okazaki, Zieler.
Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 25,504
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