Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City: Potters twice come from behind to deny Puel's Foxes victory

Stoke City denied Claude Puel a second straight win as Leicester City manager as goals from Xherdan Shaqiri and Peter Crouch cancelled out Vicente Iborra and Riyad Mahrez's efforts.

Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City: Potters twice come from behind to deny Puel's Foxes victory
(Picture: Getty Images - Paul Ellis)
Stoke City
2 2
Leicester City
Stoke City: (3-4-3) Butland; Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer; Diouf (Berahino, min. 86), Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting, Sobhi (Crouch, min. 69).
Leicester City: (4-4-2) Schmeichel; Fuchs, Maguire, Morgan, Simpson; Gray (Albrighton, min. 80), Iborra (King, min. 66), Ndidi, Mahrez; Okazaki (Iheanacho, min. 58); Vardy.
SCORE: 0-1, min. 33, Iborra. 1-1, min. 39, Shaqiri. 1-2, min. 60, Mahrez. 2-2, min. 73, Crouch.
REFEREE: Bobby Madley (off injured after 23 mins)/Jon Moss (ENG). Bookings: None.
INCIDENTS: Premier League match-day 11 clash between Stoke City and Leicester City at the bet365 Stadium. Attendance: 29,602 (2,311 away fans).

Stoke City twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Leicester City for the third successive Premier League season at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

After a dire first half-an-hour, with referee Bobby Madley's enforced substitution for injury the only talking point, Jack Butland could not keep out Vicente Iborra's half-volley at a corner as the Spaniard netted his first goal in England.

But Leicester's lead lasted just six minutes as they squandered chances to double their advantage and were made to pay, Xherdan Shaqiri levelling for the Potters with a curled finish. 

Riyad Mahrez restored the Foxes' lead dead on the hour as he cut past two to fire low beneath Butland on his left foot.

Yet again Stoke struck back as Peter Crouch came off the bench to score a header only four minutes after coming on - his third of the season and the 106th Premier League goal of his career, 52 of which have been headers. 

That was enough to deny Leicester a win in Claude Puel's second game as manager and ensure the same score-line as in the previous two meetings between these two teams in Staffordshire.

Leicester - unbeaten in six games in all competitions - at least temporarily move into the top half of the table while Stoke remain in 14th and four points clear of the relegation zone.

 

Change in referees the only excitement of first half-an-hour 

Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross recovered from a slight thigh injury to start as the Potters stayed unchanged from their victory over Watford last weekend.

Meanwhile Ben Chilwell's minor knee injury meant that Shinji Okazaki came in as Leicester's only change from their win over Everton in Puel's first game at the helm on Monday.

Okazaki's inclusion indicated that the French boss would switch from his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation to the 4-4-2 typically associated with Leicester, but they swapped fluidly between both when in and out of possession.

The visitors looked to exploit the gaps of space in behind Stoke's wing-backs with Christian Fuchs and Danny Simpson pushing well into the final third when the away side were on the ball.

Leicester's enterprise saw Jamie Vardy have the game's first half-chance on 10 minutes from Demarai Gray's cross, but Kevin Wimmer was in the right place to prevent the striker having a clear opportunity at close-range.

The most exciting action of the opening half-an-hour saw referee Madley forced to swap roles with fourth official Jon Moss after pulling his calf muscle and declaring himself unfit to continue.

After play resumed, Stoke broke into good positions around the Leicester box on several occasions but hesitation in delivering the final ball meant that their attacks amounted to nothing.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting wasted an excellent chance for the opener after being released on goal by Ramadan Sobhi's through ball. The summer signing fired a tame right-footed effort straight at Kasper Schmeichel from 10 yards out after cutting inside Harry Maguire.

 

Vicente Iborra fires in the opener at a corner

Leicester finally found the breakthrough on 33 minutes, belying a dull first-half until then. Maguire rose to meet Mahrez's corner-kick delivery and flick the ball down to Iborra, who lashed in a half-volley that Butland could not keep out.

The Foxes were in the ascendancy after that but Kurt Zouma recovered excellently to slide in and prevent Mahrez from squaring to Vardy for a tap-in before Iborra saw a strike similar to his goal saved by Butland.

The England international then had to push Okazaki's header wide before goalscorer Iborra - again from a corner but this time a short one - headed just over the crossbar after being left open.

 

Shaqiri strikes back as Potters pull level

Leicester were made to regret not making more of their short-lived dominance as Shaqiri levelled just six minutes after Iborra's goal.

Choupo-Moting's first-time flick from Zouma's ball forward put the Swiss winger alone one-on-one with Schmeichel and he curled past the shot-stopper and inside the far post with his first goal from inside the box since December 2015.

The Leicester goalkeeper had to be alert to push Shaqiri's low 20-yard drive past the post minutes later as both sides carved chances against lacklustre defences.

After the interval it was Leicester again with the more frequent chances, Butland having to push Mahrez's 35-yard shot over the bar before the Algerian was just inches away from driving a left-footed strike into the far corner.

Yet Leicester were indebted to Schmeichel's double-handed reflexes to deny a Shawcross header at a corner and keep Leicester level on the hour mark.

 

Crouch comes on to cancel out Mahrez's goal

And almost immediately up the other end, the away side were back in front.

Wilfried Ndidi won the ball in the middle and his tackle bounced out to Mahrez on the right. There, the winger drove forward and shrugged off Erik Pieters to move into the area before firing a low left-footed effort through Wimmer and beyond Butland from the corner of the six-yard box.

In response, Mark Hughes changed Stoke's shape, switching to a flat back-four with the towering Crouch brought on to partner Diouf up top and Zouma moving out into right-back.

And Crouch's introduction took just four minutes to pay dividends. He met Shaqiri's corner to power a header past Schmeichel at his near post and equalise again.

Leicester's counter-attacking threat was always present and Vardy pulled a shot just wide after rolling Shawcross from Kelechi Iheanacho's pass to the edge of the box.

The two teams both searched for a late winner in an open finale, Iheanacho even finding the net though from an offside position, but the closest attempt saw Schmeichel deny Zouma's header at a corner in the final seconds.

The draw means Stoke are still yet to beat Leicester in a league encounter since 2007 and have only won back-to-back league games once in 2017.