Leicester 2-2 Brighton: Evan Ferguson’s late header saves the Seagulls a point

Leicester 2-2 Brighton: Evan Ferguson’s late header saves the Seagulls a point after falling behind through goals from Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes

  • Kaoru Mitoma opened the scoring to give Brighton the lead after 27 minutes
  • Marc Albrighton equalized with a close-range rebound 11 minutes later
  • Harvey Barnes put the hosts ahead but Evan Ferguson equalized for Brighton

Brendan Rodgers is still looking for his first league win since November, when Evan Ferguson’s late equalizer for Brighton still left Leicester in deep trouble at the foot of the Premier League.

Just as the foxes wanted to reduce the pressure on three points, they were thrown back three minutes before the end. It was no less than Brighton deserved after Danny Welbeck was denied what appeared to be a clear penalty and Pascal Gross somehow shot over the goal from six yards.

Kaoru Mitoma capped an outstanding individual performance with a brilliant first-half goal to put Brighton ahead but Leicester prevailed against in-form opponents and equalized in the 38th minute through Marc Albrighton, who had just three minutes earlier replaced injured Dennis Praet. Then Albrighton had one hand in the second as his corner was flicked to Harvey Barnes at the far post who drilled him home. But Brighton’s pressure finally showed when substitute Ferguson took the lead with three minutes remaining.

Evan Ferguson hit a later header to give Brighton a point against Leicester City

Evan Ferguson hit a later header to give Brighton a point against Leicester City

Kaoru Mitoma opened the scoring with a stunning goal to put Brighton ahead

Kaoru Mitoma opened the scoring with a stunning goal to put Brighton ahead

MATCH FACTS & REVIEWS

LEICESTER (4-2-3-1): Ward 7; Castagne 5, Amartey 5, Faes 6, Thomas 6; Tielemans 7, Mendy 6.5; Praet 6 (Albrighton 35, 7.5), Dewsbury-Hall 6.5 (Maddison 69, 6), Barnes 6.5; Vardy 6.5 (Daka 86).

Booked: Stowell

Substitutes (unused): Iversen, Soyuncu, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Vestergaard, Brunt, McAteer.

BRIGHTON (4-2-3-1): Sanchez 6; Gross 5, Dunk 7.5, Van Hecke 6 (Lamptey 78, 6), Estupinan 6.5; Caicedo 7, MacAllister 6.5; 6.5. March, Lallana 6 (Veltman 29, 6), Mitoma 8.5; Welbeck 6.5 (Ferguson 66.6).

Booked: De Zerbi

Subs (not used): Steele, Webster, Sarmiento, Enciso, Undav, Gilmour.

Watched by chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha from the director’s box, James Maddison made his first second-half substitute appearance since the World Cup. The playmaker has recovered from knee problems and has been welcomed like a hero.

There was a tense atmosphere in the stadium from the start, with the home fans fearing an early goal against their weak side.

Leicester’s approach was similarly tentative. Whenever Brighton had the ball, centre-backs Lewis Dunk and Jan Paul van Hecke were able to get through to the halfway line unchallenged. With Van Hecke tested early on, his mistake should have resulted in a Leicester chance. The Dutchman, who came on for the injured Levi Colwill, advanced to intercept a pass to the fit Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall but failed to get there, allowing the midfielder to release Harvey Barnes down the left.

Leicester found themselves two to one but Barnes’ pass to Vardy forced the striker to check his run and the chance was lost.

Brighton got much closer in the 24th minute when Pascal Gross’ corner was flicked by Danny Welbeck and headed from a yard by Van Hecke. It was a lucky escape for Leicester as Welbeck’s touch altered the ball’s trajectory at the crucial moment.

Moments later, Leicester were penalized for sloppy play in midfield. Dewsbury Hall was robbed by Alexis Mac Allister. Pervis Estupinan conceded the pass and handed it to Mitoma, who was given way too much space by Timothy Castagne to slice inside and hit a fabulous 20-yard shot into the far corner.

Marc Albrighton equalized after 38 minutes with a melee rebound

Marc Albrighton equalized after 38 minutes with a melee rebound

Adam Lallana was injured immediately after the goal and was soon chased off by Leicester’s Dennis Praet. But Praet’s departure indirectly led to Leicester’s equaliser.

Barnes ran towards Joel Veltman, who had replaced Lallana, only to see his shot ricochet off the Dutchman. Lewis Dunk blocked Youri Tielemans’ follow-up but couldn’t stop Albrighton from getting lucky on the third try.

Leicester had to wait for confirmation from another endless VAR check for a possible offside against Barnes but the goal stood – and saved the home side from being booed at half-time.

The late goal didn’t bring a bolder approach as Brighton kept making the run but they lacked luck and calm in crucial moments. Danny Welbeck was trimmed by Luke Thomas as he prepared to take the shot but both referee Thomas Bramall and VAR Lee Mason felt no foul had been committed.

Harvey Barnes slammed the ball into the back post to put the hosts ahead after 63 minutes

Harvey Barnes slammed the ball into the back post to put the hosts ahead after 63 minutes

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi was furious and took a caution, as did Leicester goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell. And the Italian’s mood soured again when Mitoma Castagne fooled down the left and passed the ball to Pascal Gross, who somehow shot well over the bar when he was unmarked six yards from goal.

Leicester used their luck to take the lead just after the hour mark. Barnes’ shot had just been deflected for a corner and when Albrighton’s delivery was called on by Luke Thomas, the winger delivered a controlled finish at the far post. When Maddison came on in place of Dewsbury-Hall with nearly 20 minutes to go, the roar was as loud as the Foxes’ goals.

Brendan Rodgers is still looking for his first league win since November after Saturday's draw

Brendan Rodgers is still looking for his first league win since November after Saturday’s draw

Convinced he should have taken a free-kick on the edge of the box, Maddison was furious with referee Thomas Bramall. Brighton kept pressing and Solly March charged in from the left and saw Ward parry a fierce try. The keeper then bizarrely kept his side in the lead and saved with his foot when Mac Allister’s shot was deflected off Wout Faes.

The visitors’ pressure finally showed when Estupinan crossed from the left and Ferguson, who had come on for Welbeck, capitalized on poor coverage to place his header at the far post.

De Zerbi ran onto the field to get his side back to half, but the game ended clearly after Maddison’s late free-kick from the edge of the box hit the wall.

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Maureen Mackey

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