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Friday, 20 September 2019

Nigerian Ndidi makes amends to earn Leicester 1-1 draw at Chelsea

AFP , Sunday 18 Aug 2019
Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi, center, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019 AP
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Views: 945

Frank Lampard did not get the Chelsea homecoming he craved as his wait for a first win as manager went on following a 1-1 draw with Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday.

Lampard, Chelsea's all-time record scorer, was in charge at Stamford Bridge for the first time since his offseason appointment but had to settle for a point as Mason Mount's seventh-minute goal was canceled out by Wilfred Ndidi's second-half header.

Ndidi had been dispossessed by Mount for Chelsea's goal but made amends by rising above Cesar Azpilicueta to head home James Maddison's corner in the 67th.

After a 4-0 loss in the league at Manchester United last week and a penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday, Lampard is still to taste victory and, as good as Chelsea's first-half display was against the Foxes, its second-half struggle highlights the size of the task he faces.

Leicester wasted a clear chance to take all three points when Maddison weaved past Chelsea's static defense in the 73rd only to blaze over from point-blank range.

Chants of ''Super Frank Lampard'' rang around the stadium and banners were held aloft to acclaim the club's former midfielder before kickoff. Mount then gave Chelsea a deserved early lead.

The 20-year-old is a player Lampard has put so much faith in, having also taken him on loan at second-tier Derby last season. And the midfielder is proving his manager's trust is not misplaced.

After the Foxes tried to play out from the back, Mount pressed Ndidi, stole possession off him on the edge of the area and shot past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

It was a result of the energy and desire Lampard wants in his team and was the perfect response to criticism Mount received from former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who singled him out after the Old Trafford defeat in his role as a TV pundit

Chelsea were rampant, pressing the visitors at every opportunity, and they could have gone further ahead in the 25th had it not been for a fine block by Christian Fuchs, who slid in to deny N'Golo Kante a certain goal against his own club following a clever backheel by Olivier Giroud.

It would have been difficult for Leicester to be as ineffective after the break as it was in the first half and the visitors began to ask questions of Chelsea's defense, with Maddison coming to the fore.

He could not pick out a teammate after rounding goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, and then flashed a ball across goal that was begging to be knocked in.

There was little surprise that Maddison was involved in Leicester's equalizer midway through the second half.

The England under-21 international sent in an inviting corner which Ndidi emphatically thumped into the top corner.

Maddison should have been celebrating a goal of his own soon after as he took possession in the area and ran across the face of goal, but somehow managed to sky his effort from eight yards.

The playmaker then set up another golden chance, this time for Jamie Vardy as he slipped the striker through on goal, but the former England striker drilled an effort across goal.

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