Leicester and Manchester United missed the chance to put pressure on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League as the battle between second and third ended 2-2 at the King Power on Saturday. Slow starts had been a feature for United on the road this season as they had won their previous six away league games despite conceding first. However, this time it was the Red Devils who twice failed to hold onto the lead given to them by Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.
Harvey Barnes’s thunderous strike levelled before half-time and Jamie Vardy’s predatory instincts kept Leicester one point and one place above United in the table as his shot deflected in off Tuanzebe five minutes from time.
Liverpool’s lead at the top now stands at three points and Jurgen Klopp’s men can move further clear when they host West Brom at Anfield on Sunday.
“One point is not the worst result but we are disappointed we didn’t get away with three,” said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“We had loads of big chances and we could’ve finished it off. They are a very dangerous side, a quality side, and Vardy just shows his quality.”
Solskjaer has been keen to put an end to his side’s sluggish starts and should have been celebrating inside 90 seconds when Rashford headed over Fernandes’s inch-perfect cross with only Kasper Schmeichel to beat.
The England international was not so forgiving to the Foxes when given a second chance midway through the first-half as he swept Fernandes’s prodded through ball into the bottom corner for his 13th goal of the season.
However, Barnes hauled his side back into the game with one moment of brilliance as his powerful blast from outside the box had too much power for De Gea on 31 minutes.
United continued to pose the greater threat, but lacked the killer instinct on the counter-attack that has played a major role when they have had success this season.
Paul Pogba again had to make do with a place on the bench, but the Frenchman made an instant impact when he was introduced just before the hour mark and helped United take control of the midfield.
Solskjaer’s men were still most dangerous when given space to run in behind as Fred fed Rashford whose fierce shot was repelled by a brilliant save by Schmeichel.
Moments later Rashford was the creator as Anthony Martial coolly slotted beyond the giant Dane in the Leicester goal, but this time the offside flag, backed up by a VAR review, denied United.
Edinson Cavani was also brought off the bench by Solskjaer in search of a winner in the final 15 minutes and the Uruguayan made a big impact as he fed Fernandes for the Portuguese to drill home his 14th goal of the season.
Despite flying high in the table, Leicester had lost four of their previous seven home league games this season.
But Brendan Rodgers’s men avoided another defeat to claim their first draw of the campaign when Vardy’s movement outfoxed the visitor’s defence as he turned Ayoze Perez’s cross towards goal and the ball bounced in off the unfortunate Tuanzebe.
“It is all about patience,” said Vardy. “You can’t score with every attack, it’s about keeping the ball and making the best opportunities to score as possible and hopefully be in a position to be on the end of a cross at the end of it.”
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