Football: Palace fight back to force 2-2 draw with Leicester

 Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring their second goal with Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend.
Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring their second goal with Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Crystal Palace fought back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 home draw with Leicester City after Yohan Cabaye and Christian Benteke denied the Premier League champions in a pulsating clash on Saturday (April 15).

The result left Palace above the relegation zone on 35 points from 32 games, two behind Leicester who had taken a 2-0 lead through Robert Huth and in-form striker Jamie Vardy.

German defender Huth stood out in the first half as he headed the visitors into a sixth-minute lead and blocked a ferocious Wilfried Zaha volley.

Leicester seemed to be heading for a sixth league win in seven games under manager Craig Shakespeare when Vardy doubled the advantage with a brilliant goal in the 52nd minute.

Released by a delightful pass from Riyad Mahrez, Vardy spun his marker before unleashing a thumping left-footed shot into the far corner for his sixth league goal in seven games.

However, sloppy defending by the champions let Palace back into the match two minutes later as Cabaye took advantage of static marking and steered in a neat shot from 10 metres.

A wild effort by Zaha from a good position kept Leicester ahead but Palace got their reward in the 70th minute as Benteke rose above his markers and headed in an Andros Townsend cross from the left.

“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,” Palace manager Sam Allardyce told the BBC.

“We’ve got 35 points now and it’s been a fantastic run of results,” he added.

Vardy said Leicester were disappointed ahead of their home Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday when they will bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit.

“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,” he said.