Leicester City 1-1 Bournemouth: Riyad Mahrez's last-gasp strike rescues point for Foxes
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 03/03/18 7:50pm
Riyad Mahrez's stunning stoppage-time free kick gave Leicester City a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at the King Power on Saturday afternoon.
Bournemouth went ahead on 35 minutes courtesy of Josh King's penalty after the Norway international had been fouled in the box.
However, with the game entering the seventh minute of injury time, Mahrez stepped up to curl a 30-yard free kick past Asmir Begovic as the home side extended their winless run to five Premier League matches.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Amartey (6), Morgan (6), Maguire (7), Fuchs (6), Albrighton (7), James (6), Ndidi (7), Silva (5), Mahrez (8), Vardy (6)
Subs: Chilwell (7), Iheanacho (6), Diabate (7)
Bournemouth: Begovic (7), Francis (9), Steve Cook (7), Ake (8), Adam Smith (6), Daniels (7), Gosling (7), Lewis Cook (7), Stanislas (7), King (7), Wilson (6)
Subs: Surman (6), Mousset (6)
Man of the match: Simon Francis
As a result, both teams stay in midtable security, with the eighth-placed Foxes still four points ahead of their opponents in 11th.
Bournemouth had the better of the first half and after Junior Stanislas had wasted a glorious opportunity to give his side the lead, with the winger side-footing wide of a gaping goal, the visitors did make a deserved breakthrough 10 minutes before the break.
Callum Wilson strode forward into the box, before the ball broke kindly to Charlie Daniels, who then centred for King. However, despite there appearing to be little danger, Marc Albrighton - having been switched to right wing back in place of the injured Daniel Amartey - upended the striker.
Referee Lee Probert had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, with King keeping his cool to send Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way, nonchalantly rolling the ball in the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Leicester forward Shinji Okazaki missed out again with a knee problem, while Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser dropped to the bench.
However, Leicester - who themselves had spurned a golden chance to take the lead when Mahrez shot straight at Begovic when one-on-one with the Cherries goalkeeper just before the quarter-hour mark - improved drastically after the interval.
Ben Chilwell's goalbound effort was deflected over the bar on the hour-mark, before Harry Maguire saw two well-struck drives blocked near the goal line, the second by team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho, who inadvertently deflected the defender's shot inches wide of the near post.
The hosts must have thought their last chance of salvaging a point had gone when Dan Gosling somehow managed to get his body in the way of Mahrez's close-range effort with just two minutes to go.
But that was reckoning without the Algeria international, who managed to bend his last-gasp free kick around Bournemouth's wall and out of reach of a diving Begovic for his ninth Premier League goal of the season.
- The Foxes remain winless against Bournemouth in the Premier League (P6 W0 D5 L1) - the only other team they've played as often without winning in the competition is Bolton Wanderers (six games, no wins).
- Mahrez's goal was his 36th for Leicester in the Premier League, however his first from a direct free-kick - he had taken 27 direct free-kicks without scoring in the competition before today
- Bournemouth have scored in 10 consecutive games for the first time in the Premier League, netting in every game they've played since Boxing Day 2017
- Since their debut Premier League season in 2015/16, only their opponent's Leicester (12) have won more penalties away from home than Bournemouth (nine)
- The Cherries have converted both of their penalties in the Premier League this season (v Stoke and Leicester City); this after missing three in a row prior to the 2017/18 campaign
- Despite having 14 shots (inc. blocks) in the second half, Mahrez's late equaliser was Leicester's only shot on target following the break
- There have been just seven goals in the six Premier League games between Leicester and Bournemouth, with neither side scoring more than once in a game
Puel: "I cannot say I was optimistic, like my players I believed until the end and the last opportunity. I know it was the last opportunity for us.
"And I know he is a good player under pressure and he scored it. And like Jamie Vardy, we have some great players in our squad and in this condition in the last seconds of the game, it is a pleasure and amazing this goal."
Howe: "It has been a tough afternoon for us as we did a lot of things right today. I thought we defended very well in the second half, it was always going to be difficult as it is fine margins when you are only 1-0 up away from home.
"You are always going to come under pressure, which we did, we defended set plays and everything so well. We put our bodies on the line and felt like we deserved win, but it was not meant to be.
"I have not seen the goal again, but it was a quality finish from their perspective. But there are things that we can look at, analyse and try and do better for next time.
"But at that stage of the game it is all about trying to see it out and get over the line. They were causing us a problem from set plays, we had dealt with them pretty well all afternoon, but that was a moment of magic from their perspective."
The pundit - Phil Thompson
"Leicester should have been better in the first half, but there was only one goal in it. They then pushed and pushed, throwing men forward, but I must admit I was disappointed in Leicester's attitude and passing. They just kept on giving the ball away all the time, it was dreadful, they were lethargic and just never got going. Bournemouth, though, were far the better team in the first half and thoroughly deserved their goal."
Man of the match - Simon Francis
Bournemouth's captain was a rock at the heart of the visitors' back line all afternoon long, getting his head on virtually every ball into the box, as well as making a succession of vital clearances.
So no one will have felt more aggrieved when Mahrez levelled matters late on for Leicester to deny the Cherries what would have been a huge win in their efforts to stay in the top flight.
10 - Bournemouth have scored in 10 consecutive games for the first time in the Premier League; netting in every game they've played since Boxing Day 2017. Formula.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 3, 2018
Leicester travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday March 10, while Bournemouth host Tottenham Hotspur at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday March 11, a match you can see live on Sky Sports Premier League.