Everton rescue draw at Leicester, but Foxes climb out of bottom three | football news
Everton’s Alex Iwobi rescued a 2-2 draw against relegation rivals Leicester but it was the Foxes who dropped out of the Premier League’s bottom three after Monday’s decisive performance.
Iwobi equalized in the second half at the King Power Stadium when his penalty was saved by Jordan Pickford after James Maddison wasted a chance to put Leicester 3–1 ahead.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin put Everton in front with an early penalty, before Leicester hit back with goals from Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy.
Leicester, who have won just one of their last 12 league games, moved out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
The Foxes, Premier League champions in 2016, are fighting to avoid relegation in the Championship for the first time in nine years.
Leicester boss Dean Smith said, “We missed a penalty to go 3–1 up, but even in the first half we were second best for a long time.”
“We knew today’s result would not define what happens. We came out of the bottom three, but still have four games to go.”
Everton, who last played in the second tier in 1954, remain in 19th place.
Sean Deitch’s team are one point off safety with four games left for each of the bottom five clubs.
Everton narrowly avoided relegation last season under Frank Lampard, but their struggles again this term led to the appointment of Dyche in January.
The Toffees beat Arsenal and Leeds in two of Dyche’s first three matches, but have since won just one out of 11 games, leading fans to stage furious protests against the club hierarchy.
Dyche said, “We stayed calm, tried to create things and overall it was a good performance, although we didn’t get the three points.”
“I didn’t come here for a walk in the part. I knew it would be a challenge. The only offense tonight were two really soft goals, but the mindset is what we want.”
Despite conflicting moods among Everton’s traveling fans, they took the lead in the 15th minute.
Timothée Castagne unnecessarily conceded a hurried penalty on Calvert-Lewin as the striker tried to control Seamus Coleman’s lofted pass.
Calvert-Lewin fired a spot-kick into the roof of the net for his first goal since October and only his second of an injury-plagued campaign.
Leicester needed a response and they came through strongly with two goals in the space of 11 minutes.
Harvey Barnes’ 22nd-minute cross was headed across goal by Wat Face and Soyuncu fired in with a half-volley, narrowly saving Jordan Pickford’s effort.
verdi goes back years
Everton’s awkward defense was exposed again after 33 minutes.
Iwobi lost possession too easily and Vardy rolled back the years with a blistering run past Maddison for a superb finish and round Pickford.
Everton were in disarray at the back and Michael Keane conceded a penalty in stoppage time of the first half when he blocked Barnes’s cross with his outstretched arm.
But Maddison fired his penalty straight at Pickford to give Everton fresh hope.
There was also a tribute to the preparation of Save England keeper Pickford.
Television cameras showed an image of his water bottle behind a net covered in details of potential Leicester penalty takers, including the note: “James Maddison – Stay – 60 per cent centre”.
Pickford said, “I did my homework. I told him this morning where I wanted to go. He’s a good player and he would have expected me to step up, but I double bluffed him.”
Iwobi made Maddison pay for his lapse in the 54th minute as the Everton midfielder drilled Iverson to a fine finish from 10 yards after McNeill’s cross was flicked on by Calvert-Lewin.
In a tense finale, Vardy’s header was cleared off the line by James Tarkowski, while Iversen saved at the feet of Calvert-Lewin, then deflected back Abdoulaye Doucouré’s rocket.