Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Benalouane (Chilwell 76), Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 75), King (Drinkwater 64), Ndidi, Albrighton, Ulloa, Vardy. Subs not used: Zieler, Amartey, Okazaki, Musa.
Palace fought back from two-goal down to claim a hard-earned point against Leicester City thanks to strikes from Yohan Cabaye and Christian Benteke at Selhurst.
The Eagles had found themselves trailing at the break thanks to Robert Huth’s early header, and Jamie Vardy then doubled that seven minutes after the break to seemingly clinch victory for the Champions League quarter-finalists, but Palace rallied to level with 20 minutes to play, but just couldn’t quite find a winner.
With results at the foot of the table also going Sam Allardyce’s side’s way, the comeback to claim a point could prove to crucial come the season’s end.
The hosts came into this game searching for their fourth-straight home win, something they hadn’t achieved in the top-flight since 1990, but their chances of ending that wait were dealt a massive blow after just six minutes in simple fashion when a long throw by Christian Fuchs was nodded into the net by an unmarked Huth to put the champions ahead.
That was the only threat imposed on Wayne Hennessey’s goal in the opening half, with all the opportunities falling to the Eagles. Firstly, Huth had to put in some fine defensive work to block a fierce goalbound shot by Wilfried Zaha from close range, and then after Joel Ward had picked out Benteke at the back post, the Eagles’ top scorer chested the ball down and pulled the trigger, forcing Kasper Schmeichel to save with his feet before a slice of luck saw the spinning ball clip the post before being cleared.
Huth continued to be in the thick of the first half action and he made another telling contribution with five minutes remaining of the opening 45, lunging in to deflect away an Andros Townsend shot after he had been allowed to creep into the box following an incisive pass by Ward, and despite plenty of probing Allardyce’s team went into the interval behind despite showing more in the final third.
However, a slow start to the second half cost Palace dear, and seven minutes after the restart after a couple of warning shots, the Foxes scored a trademark goal on the counter. After a Palace corner was headed clear again by Huth, Mahrez snuck past Zaha and threaded a perfect pass into the path of Vardy, who turned past his former teammate Jeffrey Schlupp and bend the ball past Hennessey.
Two goals down, the Eagles needed some more of the resiliency that has been evident in recent weeks to fire straight back, and were within a goal again two minutes later when Schlupp picked up the ball on the edge of the Leicester box and saw his low drive deflect into the path of Cabaye, who fired past Schmeichel to score for the second time in five days and lift the Selhurst crowd.
That in turn fired up the players and they began to turn to screw looking for a second, and after plenty of pressure it arrived with 20 minutes to go. Having just appeared off the bench, Patrick van Aanholt pushed down the left and switched the ball to Townsend, who put a delicious cross into the box where Benteke dominated Yohan Benalouane in the air to dive onto the cross to equaliser.
With parity restored, both sides struggled to create another clear-cut opportunity to win the game, but Danny Drinkwater was a whisker away in stoppage-time when he fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box with seconds remaining, but for Palace the point was definitely a good one having been 2-0 behind.
Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Sakho, Kelly, Schlupp (Van Aanholt 67), Cabaye, Milivojevic, Zaha (McArthur 83), Puncheon, Townsend, C. Benteke. Subs not used: Speroni, Delaney, Flamini, Sako, Campbell.