Football flashback: When ten-man Leicester City stole a point against Manchester United

Manchester United and Leicester City will clash in the Premier League this weekend. Here, we look back to a classic match between the two.

Harry Maguire scores the equaliser for Leicester City against Manchester United on December 23, 2017. (Image: Premier League website)
By Shayne Dias | Oct 14, 2021 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The Premier League is back in action this week and fans can breath a sigh of relief. And one of the biggest fixtures of the week sees Manchester United take on Leicester City.

Now, the two teams have been known to play out some entertaining encounters in recent times. As such, fans expect no different from them this time around. And why would they?

After all, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s men are capable of beating absolutely anyone on their day. And Brendan Rodgers has made Leicester one of the best coached sides in the league.

In anticipation of their match this weekend, we will now look back at the encounter between these two sides towards the end of 2017.

The background

Both teams were in fairly different situations towards the end of 2017. Leicester City were a year removed from being crowned champions of England, and still figuring out how to deal with expectations that come from clubs that win the big trophies.

Manchester United, meanwhile, were second in the league at that point – although they trailed rivals Manchester City by 14 points. They desperately needed a win to stay in the title hunt.

That City side were finally beginning to find their groove under Pep Guardiola. And Jose Mourinho, who was in charge at United at that time, wanted to get one up on his nemisis.

It helped matters considerably that United had finally found some form. They won six of their last seven games and looked like a team with momentum on their side.

Therefore, anticipation for the match between Manchester United and Leicester City was sky high. True to form, it was a game that did not disappoint in the slightest.

Manchester United hit back after Leicester City score early

The early stages of the match saw Leicester sit deep and invite pressure from United. Given the match was at the King Power Stadium, it might seem an unusual approach – but the Foxes were at their best on the break.

And their patience would finally pay off in the 27th minute. A long ball found Riyad Mahrez in plenty of space, but by the time he controlled it Chris Smalling had got back to cover for him.

Not that it mattered. The Algerian held on to the ball long enough for Jamie Vardy to surge forward. In picture-perfect timing, Mahrez slotted Vardy through who finished first time. Leicester were ahead.

However, Leicester’s hopes of going into the break with the lead came undone just before the half-time mark. In the 40th minute, Anthony Martial played in a cross from the left wing.

His cross deflected straight into the path of Jesse Lingard, who laid it off to Juan Mata. The Spaniard wriggled a shot through the crowd and into the bottom corner. 1-1 at the break.

Things did not get better for Leicester afterwards. The scoreline remained the same until the stroke of the hour mark, when United won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area.

Mata stepped up to take the free-kick. A wonderful curling effort looped past Kasper Schmeichel in goal and United finally had the lead in the match.

To make things worse, Leicester would be reduced to ten men shortly thereafter. Daniel Amartey, who was already on a yellow card, clumsily fouled Marcus Rashford on the wing. Out came the second yellow – and the red card thereafter.

At this point, a United win seemed all but certain.

Leicester leave it late to earn point

The red card opened the game up for United, as Leicester now sat even deeper in their half. At this point it was about damage control.

It helped that United did not capitalise on the chances they got. Lingard should have made it 3-1 when he rounded Schmeichel and was faced with an empty net but conspired to hit the post.

Rashford was also clean through on goal at one point but denied by the Dane. Then, Mourinho pulled out a classic tactic that looked to shore up the lead but it came back to haunt him.

Despite having attacking options on the bench, Mourinho brought on Ander Herrera for Lingard. The move screamed lead consolidation, and inadvertently invited Leicester back into the game.

The Foxes began attacking and, by the end of stoppage time, got their reward. A cross from Marc Albrighton found Harry Maguire, who would go on to join United from Leicester.

However, at that time he slotted a cool finish past David de Gea to level the game. They had shown plenty of heart and deserved their equaliser. However, the game should have been dead a long time before.

It is amazing to look back at, but United had 19 attempts on goal and only scored twice. Their defence did not help, but the attackers should have killed the game off a long time ago.

Not that Leicester fans cared.

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