Iheanacho stars for Leicester; Chelsea falter and City bid farewell to Toure
Super Eagles attacking midfielder, Kelechi Iheanacho starred for Leicester City in their 2-1 win over Arsenal at the King Power stadium.
In the season’s penultimate round of matches, Iheanacho scored the opener with a well struck volley in the 15th minute after Arsenal failed to clear a Leicester corner.
Arsenal were reduced to 10 men a minute later when young Greek defender, Konstantinos Mavropanos, dallied on the ball and was closed down by Iheanacho who won the ball. The 20-year old defender brought down Iheanacho and referee Graham Scott showed him his marching order after deciding that the Greek was the last defender. Leicester dominated the half onwards, all of Mahrez, Vardy, Iheanacho and Diabate going close, but Arsenal’s Petr Cech made good saves to deny the former EPL Champions.
Arsenal could not convert their few chances in a first half they were second best, but made their first of the second half count through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on 53 minute. Youngster, Maitland-Niles drove down the right wing and crossed for the striker to bundle in on the rebound after his initial shot was saved.
Leicester City regained the lead through Jaime Vardy’s well struck penalty into the top right corner on 76 minutes after substitute, Demerei Gray, won a soft penalty from a Mkhtaryan touch. Mahrez, however, put the icing on the cake in the 90th minute with a well taken goal to consign Arsenal to another defeat on the road where they have not recorded a single point in 2018.
In London, Chelsea faltered at Stamford Bridge in their late push for a top four finish, settling for 1-1 draw against Huddersfield, a result which ensured the visitors’ EPL survival.
A scrappy encounter saw both Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata squander their best chances of the first half. German defender, Rudiger, contrived to miss an open goal from three yards out after pouncing on Azpilicueta’s knockdown. Similarly, Spanish striker, Morata, was sent clear on goal by the impressive Kante, but the former Real Madrid striker could not turn in the ball from an acute angle after rounding the goalkeeper.
Huddersfield, with fear of relegation hanging around their neck, took a surprise lead on 50 minutes through striker, Laurent Depoitre. The promoted club’s defence won the ball from Willian and with Chelsea’s defence at sea, Aaron Mooy pinged a long ball to Depoitre to nick past onrushing reserve keeper, Willy Caballero, and slot into an empty net.
Chelsea brought on Hazard and Giroud and equalized twelve minutes later through a fortuitous strike from defender, Marcos Alonso. Azpilicueta’s cross was cleared into the face of Alonso and the ball flew past goalkeeper Lossl and into the net.
Huddersfield survived a goalmouth scramble in which both Rudiger and Morata went close, but a combination of bodies and keeper Lossl denied Chelsea the lead. The promoted club held on for the draw which confirmed their Premiership status for another season.
At Wembley, Tottenham overcame a stubborn 1-0 thanks to a well taken Harry Kane goal to keep their hopes of Champions League football well on track.
Finally, it was the end of an era at Manchester City, with Yaya Toure, playing his last home game in a 3-1 win over Brighton. Substituted in the 85th minute, the 34-year old Ivorian was treated to a standing ovation by both spectators, players and staffs alike, who showed their appreciation to the former Barcelona midfielder. Toure, a £30 million signing in 2010, played a vital role in the Manchester club’s two EPL title successes before Guardiola joined as manager.