Unbeaten Leicester hit back for Stoke draw

first_img The Foxes went into this game second in the table and with their boss Claudio Ranieri having promised to buy them pizza if they kept the first clean sheet of their impressive campaign. They showed little appetite for that in a poor first-half performance before once again producing a comeback to salvage something from the game – just as they have done in their last three league fixtures. Stoke, meanwhile, must reflect on a great opportunity missed to get a monkey off their back as they remain winless and in the relegation zone. They had settled into the game quickly and went 1-0 up when Marko Arnautovic deftly turned away from Ritchie De Laet on the left flank, cut inside and delivered a wonderful through ball for Bojan. The Spaniard stroked home his first goal of the season gleefully, his celebration showing his relief at being back on the scoresheet after the nightmare he has endured since sustaining a serious knee injury in January. Soon after, Stoke had another goal. Ex-Potters man Robert Huth allowed Jack Butland’s long kick upfield to bounce past him and Morgan then made a complete hash of an attempt to play the ball back to his goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Walters, who had dashed past Huth, seized on the loose ball and side-footed in – a moment for him to savour, coming on his return to the matchday squad after a second bid for him from Norwich was rejected. Stoke were almost in again as Walters and Marco van Ginkel just failed to touch in a Geoff Cameron cross, before Butland produced a great save to turn N’Golo Kante’s shot around the post. High-flying Leicester maintained their unbeaten start to the season as a second-half fightback secured them a 2-2 draw at Stoke, denying the Potters their first 2015-16 Barclays Premier League win. Things suddenly became less comfortable for Stoke shortly after the restart as Arnautovic bundled over Danny Drinkwater and Mahrez fired in the resulting penalty, his fifth goal of the season. The in-form Butland then pulled off another fine stop to keep out Vardy’s shot before Xherdan Shaqiri fired across Schmeichel’s goal. Vardy then drew things level with his fourth goal of the season, holding off Erik Pieters and scuffing a shot beyond Butland. Stoke threatened again as Cameron headed wide and Schmiechel kept out a Shaqiri free-kick. Vardy then almost won it at the death but his shot went narrowly wide. TWEET OF THE MATCH “Is this really happening again? Leicester 2 down at halftime are back on level terms.” – Gary Lineker, as always, is left surprised by Leicester, one way or another. PLAYER RATINGS Stoke Jack Butland: 8 (out of 10) Glen Johnson: 6 Erik Pieters: 6 Geoff Cameron: 6 Marc Wilson: 6 Glenn Whelan: 6 Marco van Ginkel: 6 Marko Arnautovic: 6 Xherdan Shaqiri: 6 Bojan Krkic: 7 Jonathan Walters: 6 Subs Peter Crouch: 6 Stephen Ireland: 6 Peter Odemwingie: 6 Leicester Kasper Schmeichel: 7 Ritchie De Laet: 6 Robert Huth: 6 Wes Morgan: 6 Jeff Schlupp: 6 N’Golo Kante: 6 Danny Drinkwater: 6 Gokhan Inler: 5 Riyad Mahrez: 7 Jamie Vardy: 8 Shinji Okazaki: 6 Subs Marc Albrighton: 6 Leonardo Ulloa: 6 Andy King: 6 STAR PLAYER Jamie Vardy: The England forward continues to impress. Was a key man in Leicester’s second-half comeback, and almost added to his equaliser with a late winner, shooting just wide. MOMENT OF THE MATCH Bojan Krkic: Hands on head and smiling broadly, the playmaker had a look of pure joy – mixed with a fair degree of relief – as he celebrated after scoring. Will be hoping his injury problems are now well and truly behind him. VIEW FROM THE BENCH Stoke boss Mark Hughes appeared furious at his team not getting a free-kick in the build-up to Leicester’s leveller, but will surely be most livid at the Potters throwing away the opportunity to chalk up their first league win of 2015-16. Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, while pleased to come away with a point and keep the momentum going, may be annoyed that again his men had to come from behind to get a result. A consolation on that front is that he will not have to act on his pre-match promise of buying his players pizza if they kept a clean sheet. MOAN OF THE MATCH Leicester are yet to register a shut-out this term and had the added incentive going into this contest of the reward of food – but you would not know it judging by the way Robert Huth, a former Stoke player no less, and Foxes captain Wes Morgan conducted themselves in the build-up to Stoke’s second goal. Sloppy. WHO’S UP NEXT Fulham v Stoke (Capital One Cup, September 22) Leicester v West Ham (Capital One Cup, September 22) The hosts had been firmly in control, taking the lead in the 13th minute when the fit-again Bojan Krkic – making his first league start in eight months – slotted home, before Jonathan Walters pounced on a Wes Morgan error to make it 2-0 seven minutes later. But Leicester reduced the deficit in the 51st minute through Riyad Mahrez’s penalty and Jamie Vardy then notched the equaliser in the 69th. Press Associationlast_img read more

USC beach volleyball wins third consecutive national championship

first_imgThe USC beach volleyball team won the NCAA National Championship on Sunday, beating Pepperdine 3-2 to clinch the program’s third consecutive national title.The No. 1 ranked Trojans had been dominant all year, finishing with a 38-1 record, so perhaps it was no surprise they found themselves in Gulf Shores, Ala. last weekend, looking to defend their back-to-back national championships. USC carried its regular-season momentum into the National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship, running rampant through the competition. Facing the top programs in the nation, the Trojans were flawless, and they swept South Carolina, Hawaii and Pepperdine to earn a spot in the final.But for the first time since their sole loss of the season against UCLA in the Pac- 12 Championship, the Trojans faced major adversity in their rematch against Pepperdine. The first dual of the final matchup went in favor of Pepperdine’s Deahna Kraft and Anika Wilson, who downed the young pair of sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis. The Trojans responded quickly, as juniors Jenna Belton and and Jo Kremer dispensed of their competition 21-18, 21-15.With the two teams tied at 1-1, Pepperdine’s Brittany Howard and Corinne Quiggle regained the Waves’ advantage with a tough three-set victory over seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler. The seesawing affair continued with the Trojans’ decorated senior pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes winning another tightly contested three-set dual, evening the match at two wins apiece.Both teams were set for a deciding final matchup with the National Championship on the line. It was up to junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin to notch a win over Pepperdine’s Skylar Caputo and Heidi Dyer and bring home another national title. After capturing the first set 21-19, the Trojan pair dropped the second 18-21, setting up a dramatic final frame in an already razor-thin final.But the Trojans were able to seize the moment, as Cannon and Martin won the title-clinching set 15-13, giving USC 104 all-time NCAA team championships. For seniors Kelly Claes, Sophie Bukovec, Allie Wheeler, Sara Hughes and Nicolette Martin — who made up head coach Anna Collier’s first recruiting class — the win over Pepperdine marked their third national championship in four years at USC.“They came in and pretty much set the tone from the beginning,” Collier said. “From the moment they were sophomores, they took control of the situation and started building a team culture. They improved so much in volleyball, but more than that, they became a unit.”Collier refers to the group as the “Fab Five,” and on Sunday, the senior class solidified its legacy in USC lore, giving the school its 20th NCAA championship in women’s sports. “It came down to those last two points,” Claes said. “It was just an unreal feeling — I’m on cloud nine right now. I’m just so proud of all these girls and the fight that all of us had.”To wrap up a season full of silverware, the Trojans had three pairs selected to the all-tournament team, including Claes and Hughes, who were named the top overall pair. Cannon and Martin were honored as the No. 3 pair, with Bustamante and Dennis following just behind in No. 4.last_img read more