Middlesbrough missed the chance to climb away from the relegation zone after Islam Slimani’s last minute penalty gave Leicester City a point at the King Power Stadium.
Boro led twice in a game that they dominated for large spells and where Alvaro Negredo ended his 11-game goal drought, which had stretched back to the opening day of the season.
The Spanish striker was a constant menace to Leicester’s backline and appeared to have earned his side all three points, when slotted home his second goal of the game 19 minutes from time.
Negredo’s strike on twelve minutes, following a neat attacking move, had initially been cancelled out by Riyad Mahrez’s penalty after Calum Chambers handled the ball in the penalty area.
It was another spot kick which denied Aitor Karanka’s side with the last kick of the game, when a rash challenge from Marten De Roon on Wes Morgan gave Slimani an opportunity to convert from 12 yards.
Claudio Ranieri made just the one change from Leicester’s Champions League victory on Tuesday, as the suspended Danny Drinkwater made way for Daniel Amartey.
Negredo repays his manager
Clearly impressed by his side’s performance against Chelsea last weekend, Karanka named an unchanged starting eleven for the trip to the King Power. That meant Negredo kept his place upfront, despite only scoring one goal all season.
Jordan Rhodes didn’t even make the bench, amid speculation that he could replace Negredo as Boro’s lone striker.
Some had criticised the Spanish forward who arrived on loan from Valencia in the summer, yet Karanka has continuously back the potent forward and Negredo immediately repaired his manager’s faith in him here.
Boro have picked up over half of their points away from home this season and they were the quickest out of the blocks against the Premier League champions.
The visitors took the lead on 12 minutes when a forward pass from Chambers was controlled expertly by Negredo, who had dropped towards the half way line, before he rolled the ball out to Gaston Ramirez on the left-hand-side.
With space to run into, the Uruguayan then charged at full back Danny Simpson before cutting the ball back to Negredo, who had followed the move and picked up a good position inside the penalty area.
His strike may not have been the cleanest but it curled perfectly into the corner past the helpless Ron-Robert Zieler.
The Leicester keeper had already denied Adama Traore in the opening ten minutes, when the Boro winger burst into the box and drilled an effort at goal from a tight angle.
Karanka’s side continued to threaten in the early stages of the first half and looked comfortable in possession, with the midfield trio of De Roon, Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw outnumbering King and Amartey in Leicester’s 4-4-2 formation.
Foxes hit back
The hosts first real attack came on the half hour mark when Mahrez received the ball in space on the right and took on Boro full back Fabio. The mercurial winger then chipped the ball into the area for Shinji Okazaki, who attempted a spectacular overhead kick which clattered off the top of the crossbar.
Leicester drew level minutes later, though, when Simpson delivered swooping cross into the Boro box. The ball was heading towards Moragn who appeared to push his marker Chambers in the back. The Boro centre half subsequently raised his arm, which made contact with the ball, and referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty which Mahrez calmly converted.
The Algerian was involved again minutes later when he squared the ball back to Jamie Vardy in space, however the striker’s touch allowed Ramirez to recover.
After weathering the early storm, Leicester improved after the break however their defence, which was rock solid at the end of last season, still looked vulnerable.
Ten minutes after, the restart the lively Traore charged down the right channel, again, however the Spanish tyro’s low cross let him down.
Boro denied at the death
It wasn’t until Ranieri introduced Slimani - for Vardy - and Ahmed Musa - for Mahrez - that the Foxes began threaten Victor Valdes’ goal.
Okazaki shot straight at the Boro keeper before Musa fired over the bar moments later.
Yet the home fans couldn’t begrudge Boro’s second goal of the game when Forshaw lofted a perfectly-weighted pass forward to Negredo. Former-Boro defender Robert Huth was the man who lost Negredo and the striker instinctively ran beyond the Leicester defence before slotting the ball into the far corner with the outside of his boot.
That goal 19 minutes from time looked to have given Boro a valuable victory, however De Roon’s late challenge allowed Slimani to draw Leicester level.