- Leicester salvaged a dramatic 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough as Islam Slimani
converted a penalty deep into stoppage-time at the King Power Stadium on
Claudio Ranieri's side trailed twice to goals from Middlesbrough
striker Alvaro Negredo, but Riyad Mahrez got Leicester's first equaliser
with a penalty before his Algerian team-mate Slimani struck from the
spot to earn a point with virtually the last kick of a thrilling
Although Leicester finished the happier thanks to their late escape,
the Foxes remain too close to the relegation zone for comfort and their
fairytale title seems a lifetime ago just seven months later.
Middlesbrough went into the match as the Premier League's joint
lowest scorers, but they threatened first as Adama Traore sped past
Christian Fuchs and drove in a cross-shot that Ron-Robert Zieler parried
to Marten de Roon, who swept his effort wide.
Karanka's team had found their stride quickly and Negredo's 977-minute goal drought came to an end in the 13th minute.
Negredo, on loan from Valencia, had gone 11 games without a goal
since scoring in the opening game of the season, but the Spanish striker
was in unusually clinical mood as he exchanged passes with Gaston
Ramirez and fired high into the net from inside the penalty area.
Leicester's 2-1 Champions League win over Brugge in midweek was the
latest memorable moment in their maiden voyage in Europe's elite club
Ranieri's men have been far less inspired in their title defence, but
they roused themselves after falling behind and Japan striker Shinji
Okazaki hit the bar with a spectacular scissor kick from Mahrez's cross.
The Foxes' pressure was rewarded with a 34th minute equaliser when
Middlesbrough defender Calum Chambers was penalised for handball and
Mahrez stroked home the spot-kick.
After scoring 13 times by this stage last season, Leicester striker
Jamie Vardy has found himself stuck in a rut with 14 games without a
goal since he netted his second of the campaign on September 10.
Vardy could have broken his barren streak when Okazaki crossed
towards him just before half time, but Ramirez cleared as the England
international prepared to shoot.
It would prove another frustrating afternoon for Vardy, who was
booked and never looked likely to get on the scoresheet before being
substituted midway through the second half.
Vardy was replaced by Slimani and Mahrez also departed as Ranieri
tried to pep up his attack, yet Middlesbrough regained the lead in the
Adam Forshaw's high pass over the Leicester defence sent Negredo racing clear and he fired a low strike past Zieler.
To their credit, Leicester responded well to that setback and Daniel
Amartey went close before the equaliser arrived in the fourth minute of
De Roon fouled Wes Morgan in the penalty area and Slimani calmly slotted home to rescue the champions.