Vardy's late strike earns Leicester point at Arsenal
July 8, 2020 11:29 AM NPT
Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Leicester City - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - July 7, 2020 Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring their first goal, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Shaun Botterill/Pool via REUTERS
LONDON, July 8: Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy pounced to score a crucial late equaliser as they hit back against Arsenal to draw 1-1 in the Premier League on Tuesday after the London side’s substitute Eddie Nketiah was sent off late on.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 20th league goal of the season looked like handing the hosts a fourth successive win to maintain their late push for a top-four finish.
Visiting keeper Kasper Schmeichel made several fine saves to keep Leicester in the game after Aubameyang’s 21st-minute goal, but the visitors came back strongly in the second half.
Arsenal had Nketiah sent off in the 75th minute for a reckless tackle on James Justin — a decision made after referee Chris Kavanagh viewed a pitch-side monitor.
Leicester then levelled in the 84th minute as Premier League top scorer Vardy found space at the far post to tap home Demarai Gray’s low cross for his 22nd goal of the season.
Vardy had an anxious wait as the decision was checked by VAR for a possible offside but the goal stood and the Foxes looked favourites to grab a late winner and claim their first league win at Arsenal since 1973.
They had to make do with a point, however, although that will be a relief for manager Brendan Rodgers whose side had earlier been leapfrogged in the table by Chelsea. Leicester, who have won only twice in 10 league games, are four points above fifth-placed Manchester United who have a game in hand.
Arsenal would have closed the gap on Leicester to six points had they managed to hold on but remained nine back in seventh spot with four games remaining.
“We should have been three or four nil up in the first half,” Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said.
“We lost two points, we lost Eddie and we will see now for how many games. But we go to Spurs (on Sunday) now and try to win three points.”
Leicester began the game in sprightly fashion but were rocked when Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka played a sliderule pass across the greasy surface for Aubameyang to slot home.
The hosts were rampant for a while and Schmeichel made crucial saves to deny Alexandre Lacazette, Hector Bellerin and Saka as Leicester wobbled.
Arsenal were less of a threat after the break, however, and Vardy scuffed one effort when he should have scored.
Nketiah’s red card paved the way for more late pressure and Arsenal finally cracked as Vardy struck.