Leicester City 2-2 West Ham: Leonardo Ulloa snatches dramatic point for 10-man Foxes
By Jordan Halford at the King Power Stadium
Last Updated: 18/04/16 8:46am
Leonardo Ulloa scored from the penalty spot in the fifth minute of injury-time to earn 10-man Leicester a dramatic 2-2 draw with West Ham.
The Foxes' title hopes looked to be derailed by two West Ham goals in the last 10 minutes as Andy Carroll's penalty (84) and Aaron Cresswell's screamer (86) turned Sunday's Premier League clash on its head.
Jamie Vardy's first-half strike had given Leicester the lead but he was sent off for a second yellow card on 56 minutes after being penalised for diving.
But the title favourites showed character to claw themselves back into the game, with Ulloa snatching a point at the death from the penalty spot, after Carroll was adjudged to have fouled Jeff Schlupp.
Claudio Ranieri's men remain top of the league and eight points points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who have the chance to close the gap to five points with victory at Stoke on Monday Night Football.
Unsurprisingly, Ranieri named the same side for the sixth consecutive game, keeping faith with the players that comfortably dispatched Sunderland 2-0 a week ago.
However, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic made five changes to the side the slipped to a 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United in midweek with Carroll surprisingly named among the substitutes after scoring a hat-trick against Arsenal last weekend.
The visitors started quicker and were unfortunate not to score inside the opening two minutes when Cheikhou Kouyate met Dimitri Payet's free kick with a powerful header, only for Kasper Schmeichel to parry it onto the post before it trickled across the line and hit the other upright before ending up in the goalkeeper's arms.
Leicester broke the deadlock in the 18th minute with a swift counter-attack. Schmeichel was the protagonist as he set the Foxes free from inside his own box, enabling the marauding N'Golo Kante to slide Vardy through to slam home his 22nd goal of the season in emphatic fashion.
The frantic start dissipated after the goal as tensions soon began to flare, with firstly Vardy then Winston Reid going into the referee's notebook following two forceful challenges inside 30 minutes.
Bilic introduced Carroll at the break and the 27-year-old striker almost hauled the visitors level four minutes after, but he couldn't steer his header on target after he met Payet's low corner.
Leicester nearly doubled their lead when Shinji Okazaki found space in behind the Hammers defence, but Vardy couldn't make contact after the Japan international had sent an inviting ball across the face of goal on 55 minutes.
And City's task was made all the more difficult when they were reduced to 10 men for only the second time this season when Vardy received a second bookable offence for simulation.
The England striker appeared to have been upended in the box by Angelo Ogbonna, but after a theatrical fall referee Jon Moss brandished another yellow to the bewilderment of Ranieri in the technical area and the vociferous home support.
West Ham, buoyed by the extra man, forced an equaliser six minutes from the end when Wes Morgan was penalised for tugging Reid inside the area at a corner. Carroll converted the resulting penalty, sending Schmeichel the wrong way.
The drama wasn't to end there, though, as Cresswell looked to have snatched all three points for Bilic's men with a stunning strike from the edge of the box just two minutes later.
The home fans roared for a penalty of their own in the 90th minute when Robert Huth went down under the challenge of Ogbonna, but referee Moss refused to point to the spot.
However, there was late drama when Moss did award a penalty in the dying seconds of the match when Carroll stepped across Schlupp and he went down under minimal contact on the edge of the box.
Ulloa kept his nerve with almost the last kick of the match to send the King Power Stadium wild as Leicester need just eight points from their final four matches to claim their maiden top-flight title.
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Simpson (7), Morgan (7), Huth (7), Fuchs (7), Mahrez (6), Kante (7), Drinkwater (7), Albrighton (6), Okazaki (7), Vardy (5).
Used subs: Amartey (5), Schlupp (7), Ulloa (7).
West Ham: Adrian (7), Antonio (7), Reid (7), Ogbonna (6), Cresswell (7), Kouyate (7), Obiang (5), Noble (5), Moses (5), Emenike (5), Payet (6).
Used subs: Carroll (7), Valencia (6), Lanzini (6).
Man of the Match: Robert Huth