Late Drinkwater strike secures positive end for Foxes at Chelsea

Date published: Sunday 15th May 2016 4:56

Danny Drinkwater: Steals show with late strike to deny Chelsea

Danny Drinkwater: Steals show with late strike to deny Chelsea

Leicester City rounded off their season in style as they salvaged a draw at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

Cesc Fabregas’ spot kickĀ gave the hosts a second half lead, but Danny Drinkwater stole the show with a breathtaking equaliser eight minutes from time.

Leicester, survivors 12 months ago, finished 10 points clear.

Chelsea, their predecessors, ended a miserable campaign in 10th place and with doubt still surrounding the future of captain John Terry.

Owner Roman Abramovich inherited Claudio Ranieri as manager and sacked the Italian in favour of Jose Mourinho in 2004.

Ranieri and Leicester – opponents in the final game of Mourinho’s second spell in December – received a guard of honour ahead of the contest, with the past, present and future of Chelsea high on the agenda.

Not least Terry’s. The 35-year-old has made 703 appearances since his October 1998 debut and is mulling over the offer of a 12-month contract extension in a “different role”.

He was serenaded by Chelsea supporters throughout, acknowledging first half adulation by beating the left side of his chest, over his heart and the club crest which adorned his t-shirt.

Terry lifted the Premier League trophy 12 months ago but was suspended for interim boss Guus Hiddink’s final match in charge.

Both sets of supporters taunted Tottenham as visiting fans declared Eden Hazard as “one of our own”.

The Chelsea playmaker scored the goal 13 days ago which ended Spurs’ hopes and handed Leicester the title.

Finishing with a flourish was important to the Foxes, but Chelsea started the stronger.

Willian’s appeal for handball against Christian Fuchs was dismissed and Pedro shot wide across goal, before Jamie Vardy fired wide at the other end.

Riyad Mahrez next played in Vardy. The striker, expected to be named in the England squad on Monday, beat Thibaut Courtois to the ball, but could only loop it wide.

Demarai Gray had a deflected effort and another saved by Courtois, before Kasper Schmeichel was called into action.

The Denmark goalkeeper saved well from Fabregas at his near post and then repelled a Willian shot.

Ranieri was continually gesticulating to his charges, keen for a win on his former stomping ground.

Chelsea had the lion’s share of possession, but that has not stopped Leicester this season.

Danny Simpson flashed a shot wide on the break, but Chelsea countered.

Hazard slalomed into the Leicester box and passed to substitute Tammy Abraham, whose attempt to turn and shoot was blocked by Wes Morgan.

Nemanja Matic picked up the loose ball and surged forwards, but half-time substitute Jeff Schlupp mis-timed his tackle and a penalty was awarded.

Replays suggested there was minimal contact. Fabregas sent Schmeichel the wrong way.

Terry was a lone figure behind the dugout who stood up to applaud the goal. He appeared emotional, again.

Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were joined on the field by debutant Fikayo Tomori as Chelsea looked to the future under Antonio Conte. Terry was left in no doubt the fans’ feelings on whether he should be part of it.

Mahrez shot straight at Courtois, who was beaten when Ngolo Kante laid the ball over to Drinkwater.

It was a fine strike from 25 yards as Leicester avoided a fourth loss of the season.

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