Leicester City dropped a further two points behind Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday as struggling Norwich City battled to a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium.
Teemu Pukki put the travelling Canaries ahead in the 26th minute when the flying Finn broke free from the challenge of Caglar Soyuncu, latched onto an incisive pass from Emiliano Buendia and slotted a neat cross-goal finish beyond a helpless Kasper Schmeichel for his ninth goal of the season.
Soon after, goal-scorer Pukki fell to ground injured after a nasty collision with Ricardo Perreira, and the ball was put out of play to allow the wounded to receive attention. Tempers flared as Kelechi Iheanacho picked up the ball – right in front of the away fans, no less – and made his way towards goal, driving with intention. The run was brought to a halt when a crashing challenge from Christoph Zimmerman swept the Leicester man off his feet, warranting the biggest cheer of the match from the Norwich faithful.
Handbags ensued as every last player surrounded Iheanacho, the yellow side enraged by his lack of sportsmanship, and the blue by Zimmerman’s malicious tackle. Amidst all the shoving, only Norwich’s Tom Cantwell came out punished, being cautioned for his part in the melee.
Incensed by his striker’s actions, Brendan Rodgers himiliated Iheanacho with a substitution, bringing his part in the day’s proceedings to an end after just 39 minutes.
Norwich’s fairy-tale lead was quashed by a Tim Krul own-goal on the stroke of halftime. Ex-Canary James Maddison whipped in a textbook corner to the front post, finding Jamie Vardy unmarked. Krul ventured far from home to meet the cross, and found himself stranded on the penalty spot. Diving back to stop Vardy’s header, which the dubious goals panel deemed off-target, the Dutch ‘keeper could only parry the ball into his own net.
For the majority of the second half, it was the away side that enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession. Pukki saw two gilt-edged opportunities squandered as his side continued to press the Leicester goal, but it came to no avail.
Leicester, however, finished on the front foot as they began their first real dangerous attacking phase late on. The Foxes came very close, but desperate-yet-delightful defending kept the 2016 champions of England at bay until the referee brought the match to a close.
Leicester boss Rodgers said of the shock result: “These players have been brilliant. It says everything we have drawn and everyone is disappointed.
“We weren’t quite at our level but we managed to get back and get a point.”
Leicester travel to Goodison Park next for a Carabao Cup tie against fellow Premier League side Everton.