Shinji Okazaki came in to the Leicester side in place of an injured Ben Chilwell and made his presence felt all over the pitch. His 100% passing really helped move the ball through the midfield and out into the wing. His reintroduction to the starting 11 meant Riyad Mahrez was back on the right wing.
Potential man of the match Demarai Gray got the action going in the 10th minute. His patience almost paid off as he snuck the ball into a half-marked Jamie Vardy, only for the ball to get caught underneath his feet and the chance get cleared by the defense. This was the first of many chances Leicester had to really punish Stoke.
Gray once again made an impact a few minutes later when Christian Fuchs released him down the wing and was brought down just outside the 18 yard box. After Riyad’s free kick met the wall, the game really opened up. Stoke broke on the counter but squandered possession and lead to another, this time Gray sending a clever chip into Shinji but his dive to meet it fell just short.
Then something strange happened. The official Bobby Madley hurt his calf at some point during the first 25 minutes and was substituted with the fourth official, Jon Moss.
At the 28 minute mark, Stoke found their first spark of offense on the counter. Eric Choupo-Moting found himself wide open and 1v5 on the break. His shimmy left Harry Maguire stuck and his shot was thankfully saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
Along came Vicente Iborra in the 33 minute to score his first goal for Leicester in the Premier League. Mighty Vicente thunderstruck the home crowd when his left boot met a Maguire flick on from a Mahrez corner kick leaving the net rippling in his wake.
Two minutes later Leicester let another chance fall to the wayside when Mahrez broke the trap and had Vardy wide open. He decided to take another step instead of passing it to Vardy and the defender finally caught up to him and stopped the eventual pass. Vardy screamed towards his winger in obvious frustration.
Leicester then let Stoke off again when Iborra had back to the back headers miss the mark. The Foxes would be left ruing their missed chances when the Potters finally got the equalizer. Xherdan Shaqiri was played in from Choupo-Moting when Harry Maguire left his position chasing the tackle. Shaqiri ran to space, got the ball, and disposed it into Kasper’s back net.
Leicester started the second half with the same passion they had in the first, and should’ve reclaimed the lead a matter of minutes into the half. Jamie Vardy had a wide open Shinji Okazaki and failed to make his pass matter. That was the second wide open player Leicester had in the box and they failed to find them.
Riyad Mahrez had a crack from 40 yards out saved. He forced another chance from the wing, only for it to bounce wistfully wide of the far post. With 58 minutes gone, Leicester made their first sub bringing on Kelechi Iheanacho for Shinji Okazaki.
A minute later Stoke showed Leicester’s frailty at set pieces this season when Ryan Shawcross had a dangerous header majestically saved by Schmeichel. Magic man Riyad Mahrez then sprung to action off a lucky/stroke of genius tackle from Wilfred Ndidi. Mahrez spun into space and fired it into the back corner he’d missed only minutes before.
The match dithered on for a few more ticks of the clock and then something terrible happened. Vicente Iborra went after a collision with a player and I think was taken off as a precaution.
Andy King made another substitute appearance, coming in Iborra’s place. The super sub Peter Crouch also entered the match and made an immediate impact. The Potters won a corner and the first man you’d think to be marked was left wide open after a mistake in coverage between Maguire and Christian Fuchs. He powered into the bottom corner and just like that it was 2-2.
A few substitutions from each side took up the majority of the next ten minutes, with the next real chance falling to Leicester. Kelechi Iheanacho found the back of the net, only for it to be correctly marked as offsides. This really spurned on Stoke as they looked for the winner in stoppage time, and they almost had it.
It was 90+4 when Shaqiri swung a beautiful corner kick in that landed right on the head of an oncoming Potter, but thankfully Kasper Schmeichel had his Wheaties and ensured Leicester added another point to their season total before a huge international break for the Danish keeper.