CHRISTIAN BENTEKE scored a crucial equaliser for Crystal Palace as Leicester City squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles fell behind after Robert Huth and Jamie Vardy fired the away side in front, before Yohan Cabaye started the comeback.
Craig Shakepeare’s resurgent side got off to the perfect start, as Robert Huth opened the scoring in just the sixth minute.
The German centre-back rose highest as he headed home from a Christian Fuchs long throw, out jumping Joel Ward to steer his attempt past Wayne Hennessey.
Palace almost found the equaliser in the 17th minute, but Foxes goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel brilliantly denied Christian Benteke.
Ward floated in a cross, and Benteke was too strong for Danny Simpson – forcing the Danish shot-stopper into producing a fine save low down.
Leicester started the second half as they did in the first – on the front foot, and Riyad Mahrez almost doubled the scoreline, but his curling left-footed shot went a yard wide.
However they did extend their lead when Jamie Vardy found the back of the net in the 52nd minute, cutting in away from Jeffrey Schlupp before unleashing a strike that Hennessey could only palm into the corner.
Just two minutes later the Eagles got back in the game, as Yohan Cabaye scored for the second game running – the ball falling to the Frenchman by the penalty spot after a deflected Schlupp cross.
The comeback was complete when Benteke finally got the better of Schmeichel, as he headed home his 12th Premier League goal of the campaign after getting on the end of an Andros Townsend delivery.
They should have taken the lead when the Belgian striker again was stopped by Schmeichel from six yards out, after beating Yohan Benalouane with ease.
Substitute Danny Drinkwater had the final chance of the match in the 94th minute, but his blasted strike whistled wide of the post.
Leicester City sit two points above Crystal Palace in the Premier League, as they sit in 12th place, while the London club move into 15th.
STATS, FACTS, GOALS & LOLS
- CRYSTAL PALACE named an unchanged line up with Jason Puncheon
continuing as captain.
- LEICESTER boss Craig Shakespeare made just two changes ahead of
Tuesday’s Champions League return with Atletico Madrid as Leonardo
Ulloa was handed only his second Premier League start of the season.
- YOU can see why Shakespeare was chosen to work with Sam Allardyce and
Sammy Lee for England. The Leicester boss actually looks like a cross
between the pair now guiding Palace’s fortunes.
- PALACE fans must be the most artistic in the country as they put on
another mosaic in the corner of the Holmesdale End. Their stationery
bill must be huge.
- WHY have teams suddenly started walking out in tracksuit tops like
Leicester did? They should be reserved for cup finals and
- MAYBE Palace should have worn them as their defence was caught cold
when Robert Huth headed in Christian Fuchs’ long throw to put the
Foxes 1-0 up in the seventh minute.
- HUTH then blocked Wilfried Zaha’s shot at point-blank range six
minutes later before later denying Andros Townsend a certain 41st
minute goal with a brilliant last-ditch tackle.
- JAMIE VARDY made it 2-0 to lLeicester with a superb breakaway goal in
the 51st minute when the England striker, sent clear by Riyad Mahrez’s
pass, checked inside Jeffrery Schlupp just inside the box and hit
left-footed curling shot which keeper Wayne Hennessey got hands to but
could not keep out.
- YOHAN CABAYE pulled one back for Palace when he sidefooted home from
12 yards after Schlupp’s cross has been deflected into his path by
- CHRISTIAN BENTEKE climbed above Yohan Benalouane to make it 2-2 in the
- THE Eagles striker then denied another when Foxes keeper Casper
Schmeichel blocked his shot.
Next five fixtures
Apr 23 – Liverpool (A) – PL
Apr 26 – Tottenham Hotspur (H) – PL
Apr 29 – Burnley (H) – PL
May 6 – Manchester City (A) – PL
May 14 – Hull City (H) – PL
Apr 18 – Atletico Madrid (H) – CL
Apr 26 – Arsenal (A) – PL
Apr 29 – West Brom (A) – PL
May 6 – Watford (H) – PL
May 13 – Manchester City (A) – PL
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
CRYSTAL PALACE: Hennessey 5, Ward 7, Kelly 6, Sakho 6, Schlupp 6 (van Aanholt 69, 6), Milivojevic 7, Cabaye 7, Townsend 7, Puncheon 6, Zaha 6 (McCarthur 84, 5), Benteke 8
Subs not used: Speroni, Flamini, Campbell, Sako, Delaney
Goals: Yohan Cabaye, Christian Benteke
LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel 6, Simpson 6, Benalouane 6 (Chilwell 76, 6), Huth 7, Fuchs 7, Mahrez 7 (Gray 75, 6), Ndidi 6, King 6 (Drinkwater 64, 6), Albrighton 7, Vardy 7, Ulloa 7
Subs not used: Zieler, Musa, Amartey, Okazaki
Booked: Danny Simpson, Andy King
Goals: Robert Huth, Jamie Vardy
STAR MAN: CHRISTIAN BENTEKE
WHAT THEY SAID
Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce said: “Today’s point feels like a win, it’s a tremendous fight back from the players and that wouldn’t have happened when I first arrived – it just shows the change of mood of the players.
“We’ve got 35 points now and it’s been a fantastic run of results.”
Goalscorer Jamie Vardy said: “We’re a bit gutted with the result in the end – if we’d held on to the two-goal lead for a bit longer, we’d have been fine.
“For their second goal I thought Christian Benteke used Yohan Benalouane as a step-ladder so you’d have thought it would be blown for a free-kick.”