English Premier League | Rudiger scores brace

Making a mark: Antonio Rudiger, right, was Chelsea’s saviour.

Making a mark: Antonio Rudiger, right, was Chelsea’s saviour.   | Photo Credit: Michael Regan

Earns a 2-2 draw for Chelsea against Leicester

Frank Lampard admitted Chelsea faces a fight to finish in the Premier League’s top four after Antonio Rudiger’s second goal of the game earned a 2-2 draw against Leicester on Saturday.

Rudiger put Chelsea ahead early in the second half before Harvey Barnes and Ben Chilwell scored in quick succession to give Leicester the lead.

A thrilling second-half climaxed when Rudiger became the first defender to score a brace for Chelsea in the Premier League since John Terry against Fulham in 2013.

“We were the better team in the first half, in terms of how we moved the ball, and we created some gilt-edged chances. In the second half we weren’t so fluid and they created some good chances themselves,” Lampard said.

Frustrated that Chelsea failed to make any signings during the window, Lampard this week claimed his team are now underdogs in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.

Depending on Manchester United and Tottenham’s results, Lampard’s prediction could look prescient by the conclusion of the weekend’s action.

Third-placed Leicester could be more sanguine about the result as it sits eight points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea, which has now won just one of its last five league games.

“We should have won having gone 2-1 up. We gifted them two goals really, which we’re disappointed with,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. “But what we did was show a fantastic mentality to come from behind against a really good side with top level players.”

Lampard dropped Kepa Arrizabalaga after some error-prone displays from the Chelsea goalkeeper, with 38-year-old Willy Caballero making his first league appearance since May.

Jamie Vardy was back from injury but Leicester’s 17-goal leading scorer hadn’t netted in his last four league games and he wasted a good chance to put the host ahead when he burst onto Ayoze Perez’s chestdown in the penalty area, only to shoot straight at Caballero.

Sloppy defending

Leicester looked low on confidence at times. Hamza Choudhury should have put the team in front on the stroke of half-time but, befitting the scrappy showing, the midfielder couldn’t keep his close-range effort on target.

Choudhury was at fault again when Chelsea snatched the lead in the 46th minute. When Mason Mount swung a corner towards the far post, Choudhury misjudged his jump and Rudiger got behind him to head in from close range.

It was the perfect way for the German defender to mark his 100th Chelsea appearance as he scored only his fifth goal for the Blues.

But Chelsea’s defence remains far from impregnable and Leicester hit back to equalise eight minutes later.

Pinpoint pass

James Maddison found Youri Tielemans and the Belgian’s pinpoint pass sent Barnes racing away down the left wing.

Cutting back into the Chelsea area, Barnes tried his luck with a low strike that took a deflection off Andreas Christensen and looped over Caballero into the net for the winger’s fourth goal in his last six games.

Chelsea conceded again in the 64th minute as more sloppy defending allowed Leicester to sweep through.

Caballero rashly rushed off his line in a failed attempt to reach an over-hit cross and Chilwell was left unmarked in the area to fire home from Tielemans’ pass.

To its credit, Chelsea didn’t throw in the towel and Rudiger equalised in the 71st minute, the centre-back rising above Chilwell to power a superb header over Kasper Schmeichel from Mount’s free-kick.

Leicester should have won it but Jonny Evans headed wide from six yards before Barnes flicked past the far post from close range.

Sixth straight win

Bayern Munich fired in three goals in the opening 26 minutes to ease past host Mainz 3-1 on Saturday and go two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with its sixth straight league win. Robert Lewandowski headed in his 22nd league goal in the eighth minute and Thomas Mueller and Thiago Alcantara added two more.

The results: EPL: Leicester 2 (Barnes 54, Chilwell 64) drew with Chelsea 2 (Rudiger 46, 71).

La Liga: Granada 2 (Machis 38, Fernandez Luna 46) bt Espanyol 1 (de Tomas 27-pen).

Serie A: Bologna 2 (Orsolini 43, Bani 89) bt Brescia 1 (Torregrossa 36-pen).

Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund 5 (Sancho 13, Haaland 18, 76, Reus 68-pen, Witsel 70) bt Union Berlin 0; Hoffenheim 2 (Kramaric 23, Skov 65) bt Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Diaby 11); Duesseldorf 1 (Ayhan 78) drew with Frankfurt 1 (Chandler 90+3); Mainz 1 (St. Juste 45) lost to Bayern Munich 3 (Lewandowski 8, Mueller 14, Alcantara 26); Augsburg 2 (Vargas 82, Niederlechner 67) bt Werder Bremen 1 (Jedvaj 23-og).

On Friday: Hertha Berlin 0 drew with Schalke 0.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 6:14:50 AM |

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