London, April 26 (BNA): Veteran Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy came off the bench to break a long scoring drought and earn his side a 1-1 draw with a late equalizer in a tight relegation battle away to Leeds United in the Premier League. League on Tuesday.
Leeds were closing in on a much-needed three-point victory in pursuit of safety courtesy of Luis Sinistera’s 20th-minute header after Leicester’s Youri Tielemans goal had been ruled out.
And Reuters reported that the 36-year-old Vardy, who participated in the 70th minute, had other ideas and hit Leeds goalkeeper Ilan Mesler from James Madison’s pass to save his team.
It was his first league goal since October and the former England striker thought he had given Leicester the lead shortly thereafter but his effort was ruled out for offside.
A frantic finish saw Leicester keeper Daniel Iversen make a superb save to clear Marc Roca’s header from close range before Leeds striker Patrick Bamford smashed a superb chance wide.
The result did not ease either side’s fears of relegation, with Leicester still in 17th place with 29 points, one ahead of Everton, who are third from bottom, who will overtake them if they avoid losing to Newcastle United on Thursday. Leeds has 30 points.
Second-from-bottom Nottingham Forest can also leapfrog Leicester if they win at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.
Vardy, whose goals propelled Leicester to the title of legend in 2016, has frustrated the tally this season and has not scored in any competition since a League Cup match in December.
But he looked extremely sharp after caretaker manager Dean Smith sent him on and fired low into the corner after a sweeping transfer from Leicester ended up with Maddison playing him.
“It can be massive,” Vardy said. “We have five cup finals left. We’ll enjoy the point tonight, then come back and recover.” “I can’t say what I want to say on TV because I’m going to finish but the season has been strange for me. I hope the goals keep coming.”
Defeat would have been cruel to Leicester who were denied an early lead when Tielemans latched onto a loose ball and sent an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Sadly for the Belgian, it was a VAR check that deemed Boubacary Soumare to have been a little offside in the crowd.
There was nervous energy around Elland Road after three defeats in a row but there was an explosion of relief when a fantastic move down the right saw Jack Harrison deliver a superb cross which Sinisterra headed home.
Javi Gracia’s Leeds seemed content to try to hold on to their slim advantage in the second half, and with Maddison pulling the strings, Leicester took charge.
Mesler twice denied Kelechi Iheanacho an injury, before Vardy’s crucial contribution.
Arguably it was a better point for Leicester who should have had a smoother game than Leeds who still have to play Manchester City and Newcastle United in their last five games.
“We try to leave the past behind, learn from our mistakes and carry on in a positive way,” said Harrison.
“We’re looking for every point we can get at this moment in time. It’s not what we wanted but we’ll take it.”