Harvey Barnes strikes late on to earn Leicester a draw at Crystal Palace

George Sessions, PA
·3-min read

Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League but dropped points in their pursuit of leaders Liverpool after a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Kelechi Iheanacho had a first-half penalty saved by Vicente Guaita and when Wilfried Zaha fired the hosts ahead, Brendan Rodgers’ decision to make seven changes from the draw with Manchester United looked to have backfired.

However, Harvey Barnes’ eighth goal of the season in the 83rd minute salvaged a draw as the hosts bounced back from heavy defeats to Liverpool and Aston Villa with a point.

With the two sides in action on Boxing Day, a total of 12 changes were made by both managers at Selhurst Park, with James Maddison a notable absentee from the Foxes squad and Jamie Vardy on the bench.

Palace dropped five of the players involved in the 3-0 loss at Aston Villa, three of them defenders.

After conceding inside five minutes in their last two fixtures, the Eagles avoided history repeating itself for a third time – but it was the visitors who dominated early on.

Crystal Palace v Leicester City – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho (left) and Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate were involved early on (Adam Davy/PA)

Cheikhou Kouyate denied Iheanacho with quarter of an hour played before his centre-back partner was caught out in the 18th minute.

James Tomkins, who had not started for Palace since February due to a thigh injury, was slow to react when Luke Thomas raced into the area and he brought the defender down.

Referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot but Guaita was the hero for the hosts with a strong right hand thwarting Iheanacho from 12 yards.

Crystal Palace v Leicester City – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Vicente Guaita denied Iheanacho from the spot (Marc Atkins/PA)

Christian Benteke attempted to punish the away side four minutes later but he headed over an Andros Townsend corner and his appeals for a penalty after Daniel Amartey appeared to handle the ball fell on deaf ears.

Palace’s goal continued to live a charmed life after Ayoze Perez saw a deflected cross-cum-shot hit the crossbar in the 25th minute, before Barnes blazed the rebound over.

Both teams squandered excellent opportunities soon after with Townsend firing wide from eight yards after good play by Jeffrey Schlupp and Iheanacho heading over from close range following Dennis Praet’s centre.

Crystal Palace v Newcastle United – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Andros Townsend fired wide for Palace (Daniel Leal Olivas/PA)

It was arguably a better chance than his penalty miss and despite more play in the opposition’s half, Leicester were unable to make the breakthrough before half-time.

The hosts came out with better intent for the second period and further good work by Schlupp against his former club created an opening for Zaha, who fired over from 20 yards.

Rodgers had seen enough and made his first substitution of a bitterly cold afternoon when Youri Tielemans was introduced for the more defensively-minded Hamza Choudhury.

It did not have the desired effect, however, with Palace opening the scoring in the 58th minute through their talisman.

Zaha was fouled but managed to find Townsend in space on the right and picked himself up to get into the area in time to be found by his team-mate.

Crystal Palace v Leicester City – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Wilfried Zaha levelled for Palace (Adam Davy/PA)

The Palace attacker showed excellent technique to volley past Kasper Schmeichel for his eighth goal of the season – doubling his 2019/20 tally only 16 league games into this campaign.

Vardy was summoned with 24 minutes left and the final roll of the dice from Foxes boss Rodgers was to bring on Demarai Gray for Iheanacho, who endured a day to forget in south London.

Eventually Leicester found an equaliser through one of the four players to start against United two days earlier.

Barnes created a yard of space outside the area and drilled into the bottom corner – but no winner was forthcoming and the visitors had to settle for a point, although they do move up to second.