Stoke 2-2 Leicester: Potters Earn A Point In Thrilling End-To-End Affair
A dramatic and thrilling end-to-end affair at the bet365 Stadium resulted in a share of the spoils between Stoke and Leicester, who played out a 2-2 draw in the Premier League.
Leicester twice took the lead in both halves, first through a powerful volley from Vicente Iborra and then from a sensational show of individual skill from Riyad Mahrez.
But the visitors were pegged back merely minutes later on both occasions by Stoke, as Xherdan Shaqiri was provided plenty of time and space to curl the ball into the back of the net, with Peter Crouch then ensuring a share in the points following his unstoppable header.
The two sides were quick to settle into an early rhythm at the bet365 Stadium, as Stoke were content for the Foxes to take early possession whilst they sat off and negated the threat of Jamie Vardy in-behind their defence.
The very man Stoke were attempting to stop was provided with the first chance of the game in the 11th minute, as the England international was only to be denied by Kevin Wimmer on the six-yard line.
A quick bout of end-to-end football followed as the game ticked over the 20 minute mark, and referee Bobby Madley had obviously felt the effects of the game's rise in tempo as the match official succumbed to a calf injury, requiring fourth official Jon Moss to take over the reigns - much to the home crowd's amusement.
The Potters then created the best chance of the half when Ramadan Sobhi threaded the ball through the Leicester defence, arriving perfectly at the feet of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who did brilliantly to lose Harry Maguire in the box. However, all his hard work was let down by his finish which was aimed straight at Kasper Schmeichel.
As the game opened up, a plethora of chances fell the way of either side, as counter-attacking football became the theme for the remainder of the half.
Leicester were the first to take advantage when they took the lead in the 33rd minute, as Stoke's poor defending from a corner allowed Maguire to head the ball into the middle of the six-yard box, where an awaiting Iborra volleyed the ball into the back of the net - securing his first league goal for the Foxes.
Only a few minutes had passed when Leicester almost doubled their lead in an identical fashion to their first, as Stoke continued to struggle in finding their opposition man during corners.
A rampant Leicester continued to knock on the door as another quick turn over in play sent Demarai Gray down the left wing, with his delivery into the box met by Shinji Okazaki whose header was denied by the desperate point-blank intervention of Jack Butland.
The Foxes should have been at least two or three goals to the good, but Stoke punished the visitors for failing to finish as Shaqiri levelled for the visitors in the 39th minute when a deft touch by Choupo-Moting found the Swiss attacker in acres of space behind Leicester's defence, who was then able to curl the ball beyond the outstretched Schmeichel.
The second half continued in the same vein as the latter stages of the first, with spaces offered for both sides to take advantage of, and it was then Stoke's turn to offer a viable threat from a corner. As Ryan Shawcross peeled off the back post and headed the ball towards goal, with a stunning save from the Leicester keeper denying the Stoke skipper.
Merely less than 60 seconds later and the game was once again flipped on its head, as Mahrez weaved his way into the penalty area, feigned to be shaping for a lay-off and then buried the ball beyond Butland to restore Leicester's lead in the 60th minute.
The Potters had threatened from a corner earlier in the second period, but the Foxes did not heed the warning, as the introduction of Crouch only moments earlier proved vital. The 36-year-old cleverly peeled off his marker at the front post and headed home to level the scores in the 73rd minute.
Stoke then continued to turn up the heat on the visitors for the remainder of the half and the home side looking the more likely to score, but the game was finely balanced until the end and it only needed one more moment of magic from either side to steal the three points.
The draw does little to improve either side's standing in the league table, but the international break now awaits both sides, with Stoke set for a trip to Brighton upon their return to Premier League action, whilst Leicester will host Manchester City.