English Premiership

Leicester, Spurs settle for a draw

Leicester celebrate (AP)
Leicester celebrate (AP)

Leicester - Riyad Mahrez scored his fourth goal of the season as Leicester City drew 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday to continue their unbeaten Premier League start under Claudio Ranieri.

The Algeria winger, signed by Leicester for just £400 000 last year, managed four goals in the whole of last season, but has now matched that tally in just three games.

He struck just a minute after Spurs substitute Dele Alli had headed in from close range to give Spurs the lead in the 81st minute at the King Power Stadium.

England striker Harry Kane, who scored 21 league goals last season, remains without a goal, while his Tottenham side let a lead slip for the second successive game.

Spurs went into the game without playmaker Christian Eriksen, who was ruled out with a knee injury, although Kane was passed fit after being withdrawn during the 2-2 draw with Stoke City last weekend.

New Leicester manager Ranieri went against his 'Tinkerman' reputation once again, naming an unchanged side for the third straight game.

New signing Gokhan Inler took his place on a Leicester bench that boasted some 30 million worth of talent.

Before kick-off, the home fans passed a giant flag around the ground that read: 'We are #fearless.'

After their impressive start to the season, there was no reason for Leicester to fear a stuttering Spurs side without a win and they showed no signs of nerves in the early stages.

With England manager Roy Hodgson watching on, the tireless Jamie Vardy looked to capitalise on an early sliced clearance from Jan Vertonghen, but Spurs managed to clear their lines.

Spurs dominated possession, seeing more than 70 percent of the ball in the first half, but failed to create anything clear-cut, instead resorting to long-range potshots.

Mousa Dembele tested Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel early on, but his shot was straight at the Denmark international.

- Alli opens account -

Hodgson might have been in attendance to watch Kane and Vardy, but he may also have had a passing glance at Leicester winger Marc Albrighton.

The former Aston Villa man already has a goal and three assists from his opening two games and he fired wide from inside the area.

Leicester had a big shout for a penalty turned down just before the break when Mahrez, showing off all his tricks, was brought down by Vertonghen. Mahrez slammed the floor as referee Martin Atkinson waved play on.

Kane's quiet opening half was rounded off when his first shot of the afternoon went out for a throw-in.

Nacer Chadli had a chance to double his tally for the season just after the restart when he was played in behind Leicester's defence, but snatched at his shot and fired over from eight yards.

Leicester had chances to take the lead, too, as Mahrez first slipped in Danny Drinkwater, whose shot hit the side-netting, before playing in Vardy, who was denied by the onrushing Hugo Lloris.

Kane had a great chance to score his first of the season when he wriggled free in the box, but he could not find a way past Schmeichel.

Inler, a £5m recruit from Napoli, was handed his debut with 10 minutes to go, only for his new side to fall behind seconds after his entrance.

Chadli's delicate cross found Alli unmarked at the back post and the substitute headed home his first Spurs goal.

But the lead would last just a minute as Mahrez bagged his fourth goal of the campaign, latching onto a Vardy flick-on before cutting onto his left foot and curling a shot inside the left-hand post.

Leicester might even have won it late on when Wes Morgan headed against Lloris from close range.

Sun 12 Jul 20 13:00 PM (SAST)
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