Vardy rescues point for Leicester in basement clash at Leeds
Leicester City's veteran striker Jamie Vardy came off the bench to break his long scoring drought and earn his side a 1-1 draw with a late equaliser in a crunch relegation battle away to Leeds United in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Leeds were closing in on a much-needed three points in their quest for safety thanks to Luis Sinisterra's 20th-minute header after Leicester's Youri Tielemans had a goal ruled out.
The 36-year-old Vardy, who came on in the 70th minute, had other ideas though and fired past Leeds keeper Illan Meslier from James Maddison's pass to rescue his side.
It was his first league goal since October and the former England striker thought he had given Leicester the lead shortly afterwards but his effort was ruled out for offside.
A frantic finale saw Leicester keeper Daniel Iversen make an outstanding save to keep out Marc Roca's close-range header before Leeds striker Patrick Bamford scuffed a glorious opportunity wide.
The result did little to ease either side's relegation fears with Leicester remaining in 17th place with 29 points, one point ahead of third-from-bottom Everton who would move above them if they avoid defeat by Newcastle United on Thursday. Leeds have 30 points.
Second-from-bottom Nottingham Forest could also leapfrog Leicester if they win at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.
VARDY RAZOR SHARP
Vardy, whose goals powered Leicester to a fairytale title in 2016, has cut a frustrated figure this season and had not scored in any competition since a League Cup game in December.
But he looked razor sharp after interim manager Dean Smith sent him on and he drilled a low shot into the corner after a sweeping Leicester move ended with Maddison playing him in.
"It could be massive. We have five cup finals left. We'll enjoy the point tonight, then get back in and recover," Vardy said. "I can't say what I want to say on TV because I'll get done but it's been a weird season for me. Hopefully the goals keep coming."
Defeat would have been harsh on Leicester who were denied an early lead when Tielemans seized on a loose ball and sent an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Sadly for the Belgian, a VAR check deemed Boubacary Soumare had been slightly offside in the build-up.
There was a nervous energy around Elland Road after three successive defeats but there was an explosion of relief when a superb move down the right saw Jack Harrison deliver a superb curling cross that Sinisterra headed down and into the net.
Javi Gracia's Leeds seemed content to try to hang on to their slender advantage in the second half and, with Maddison pulling the strings, Leicester took charge.
Meslier twice denied Kelechi Iheanacho, who went off injured, before Vardy's crucial contribution.
It was arguably a better point for Leicester who should have a smoother run-in than Leeds who still have to play Manchester City and Newcastle United in their last five games.
"We try to put the past behind us, learn from our mistakes and continue on in a positive way," Harrison said.
"We're looking for every point we can get in this moment in time. It's not what we wanted but we will take it."
Aston Villa go fifth in Premier League with 1-0 win over Fulham
Defender Tyrone Mings scored a brilliant header from a set piece as Aston Villa beat Fulham 1-0 at Villa Park on Tuesday to lift them to fifth in the Premier League table, a step closer to ensuring European football next season.
Villa are on 54 points after 33 games, one ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and five behind fourth-placed Manchester United. Fulham, whose European dreams were derailed by a run of four defeats in March and April, are ninth on 45 points.
Fulham suffered a blow when midfielder Willian was injured in the warm-up and was unable to play, with Manor Solomon taking his place.
The visitors might have had an early chance but the home side put them under tremendous pressure in the opening 15 minutes, and they had a good shout for a penalty turned down when Ollie Watkins appeared to be tripped in the box by Tosin Adarabioyo.
Fulham were forced into another change when Harry Wilson limped off after 17 minutes to make way for Bobby Decordova-Reid as things went from bad to worse.
Villa took the lead in the 21st minute when Mings met John McGinn's corner at the near post with a superb glancing header that flashed across the goal and into the net for his first goal of the season.
Fulham found their feet in the second half but once again their attack failed to fire and, despite enjoying more possession, they did little to threaten Emiliano Martinez in the Villa goal.
Mings's joy almost turned to misery in the 82nd minute when he put the ball into his own net, but Harrison Reed was found to have been offside in the build-up and the own goal was chalked off as Villa held on to win.
The home side are on a remarkable run since Unai Emery took over in November, and Tuesday's win marked their fifth straight home victory without conceding a goal as their push for Europe continues.
"We will look and see where we are. We have been doing that all season, when we were at the bottom as well. It is nice to look at it now when we are a bit higher," goalscorer Mings told BT Sport, admitting it was about time he got on the scoresheet.
"The manager was telling me if I don't score he will drop me so I was just glad I got one tonight," he said.
Wolves earn vital points in battle against drop
An early own goal and a late penalty gave Wolverhampton Wanderers a vital three points in their bid to keep clear of the Premier League relegation zone as they ended Crystal Palace’s unbeaten run under stand-in manager Roy Hodgson with a 2-0 home win on Tuesday.
Wolves had a dream start after a third-minute own goal from Joachim Andersen and made sure of the win after another horrific mistake, this time by Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone who gave away a stoppage-time penalty, converted by captain Ruben Neves.
Victory put Wolves nine points clear of the bottom three places, joining Palace on 37 points and ended Hodgson’s run of three wins and a draw since returning to Palace in the wake of Patrick Vieira’s sacking last month.
Andersen, who was facing his own goal, got himself into a tangle as a corner from Neves struck him on the knee, powering into the net off the underside of the bar to the delight of the Molineux support.
But it was largely a nervy night for the fans as Palace threatened to fight their way back into the game and dominated many of the exchanges.
Their quick passing set up a chance for a 16th-minute equaliser as Eberechi Eze fed Albert Sambi Lokonga but the Belgium international slipped at the vital moment and was unable to make use of the pass.
But Lokonga was firmly on his feet when he struck a point-blank shot on target five minutes before halftime, only to see the effort saved by diving Wolves keeper Jose Sa.
Sa made another key stop 17 minutes from fulltime from Eze's curling shot from outside the penalty area, as Palace pressed for a goal and put their hosts under considerable pressure.
Eze, who posed a real threat throughout, had an 80th-minute effort blocked by Neves as Wolves pulled down the shutters and looked to hold on to their lead in a nervy final spell.
They were able to get another goal in stoppage time when Johnstone's heavy touch, while attempting to play out from the back, saw Pedro Neto attempt to steal away the ball before being fouled by the Palace keeper.
Neves hit the resultant spot kick into the corner of the net to wrap up the win.