SportSoccer

Ranieri salutes his Leicester players as their march is halted

Vardy drew a blank for Leicester
Vardy drew a blank for Leicester

Leicester's charge at the top of the Premier League was stalled by West Brom, who battled to a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium.

West Brom took the lead on 11 minutes through a tidy finish from Venezuelan forward Salomon Rondon (below), before the Foxes - who started the evening two points clear of Tottenham and five ahead of Arsenal - were level on the half hour when a 25-yard effort from Danny Drinkwater deflected up over the goalkeeper.

After leading scorer Jamie Vardy sent a header against the crossbar, Leicester took the lead just before half-time when Andy King clipped the ball in from a clever knockdown by Riyad Mahrez.

The Baggies equalised at 2-2 through a fine 25-yard free-kick from Craig Gardner after 50 minutes while Shinji Okazaki hit the woodwork again for Leicester, West Brom defence held out as Claudio Ranieri's men were left frustrated and could now be knocked off top spot should Spurs win at West Ham on Wednesday night.

“I am very pleased with our performance," declared Ranieri. "They played so well, there was no panic after the first goal.

"We played much better than against Norwich. I am satisfied with the performance. Just sometimes you can do everything but the ball doesn’t want to go in.

“I want to create a lot of chances and sooner or later we score. Tonight wasn’t the right moment but we are alive and we fight to the end. Everybody is ready to fight, to play well, to create chances. Only the victory was missing.

“Nothing negative. We tried to do everything and well done to my players. I love this, we never never give up. We always try the best in every situation.

"Every team plays football and we have to find the solution and try to win. It is important not to lose the match too as they could have counter attacked.”

Chelsea moved up into eighth place following a 2-1 win at struggling Norwich, where Brazil forward Kenedy scored after just 39 seconds.

Kenedy netted the fasted Premier League goal of the season after the home defence backed off at the edge of the area, for the 20-year-old to slot into the bottom right corner.

The Blues doubled their lead in first half injury time when Diego Costa (below), who looked to be offside, ran onto Bertrand Traore's pass to flick the ball over John Ruddy.

Norwich, without a league win since January 2, rallied after Nathan Redmond fired in an angled drive on 68 minutes, but the home side could not conjure an equaliser and dropped into the relegation zone on goal difference.

Bottom club Aston Villa were beaten 3-1 at home by Everton, as their slow and painful march towards relegation continued, while Sunderland salvaged a point from their game against Crystal Palace with a last gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw.

Bournemouth beat south coast rivals Southampton 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium, where fourth official Kevin Friend was taken to hospital during half-time having hit his head on the dugout.

Centre-back Steve Cook gave the Cherries the lead on 31 minutes with a scissor-kick finish, and Benik Afobe (79) headed in a second to secure a first win in four league matches.