Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City: Valiant comeback from 10-man Foxes

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  • Vardy gets straight-red card
  • Bojan, Allen put Stoke 2-0 up 
  • Ulloa, Amarety score late on

Leicester City felt like everything was going against them at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

They lost Jamie Vardy to a straight red card. Gave away a penalty kick which Bojan Krkic scored to put the Potters 1-0 up and then Joe Allen made it 2-0 at half time. However, late in the second half the Foxes launched a stunning comeback with Leonardo Ulloa and Daniel Amartey scoring late on to snatch a point.

With the point Stoke moves to 22 points for the season, while Leicester grabbed just their second away point of the season to move on to 17 points.

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Stoke started the better of the teams as Bojan played in a ball to Joe Allen who set up Jonathan Walters but Kasper Schmeichel saved brilliantly to deny the Potters.

Leicester then twice went close as Riyad Mahrez‘s shot was deflected on goal but Lee Grant saved and Stoke’s goalkeeper then produced a fine stop to deny Robert Huth‘s looping header moments later.

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Mame Biram Diouf and Bojan both went down in the box but both had penalty shouts turned down. Then Diouf missed the ball after a cross from the left yet Bojan was following up but his effort was blocked by Andy King.

The turning point then arrived as referee Craig Pawson showed Vardy a straight red card for a lunging tackle on Diouf. In fairness to Vardy he was pushed off balance by Glen Johnson as he went in for the challenge and did get the ball but he also caught Diouf. Leicester down to 10 men.

Soon after they were 1-0 down as Bojan’s cross was clearly handled in the box by Danny Simpson and Stoke’s Spanish playmaker slotted home the penalty kick.

Before half time it was 2-0 to the Potters with Giannelli Imbula sending a shot off the near post which hit Schmeichel and then went straight to Allen who tapped home his fifth goal of the season. As the teams walked off at half time Claudio Ranieri was livid as he tried to get to referee Pawson.

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In the second half it was damage limitation for the Foxes and Schmeichel denied Jonathan Walters with a fine save as the Stoke forward towered above Wes Morgan but was denied by the Danish goalkeeper.

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Mahrez flashed a free kick over the bar but that was about as good as it got for Leicester, with Allen being denied by Schmeichel as Stoke toyed with the Foxes but couldn’t find a third goal.

However, substitute Ulloa then scored his first goal in 16 games to give Leicester hope in the closing stages with his header going over the line despite being hacked clear by Ryan Shawcross. 2-1.

And then Amartey headed home in the 88th minute to complete a fine comeback for Ranieri’s men as they showed the same fighting spirit which won them the title last season.

Report: Man City could use Gabriel Jesus to get Rodri

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At the root of this report is a question to which we don’t know the answer: How highly does Pep Guardiola rate Gabriel Jesus?

A report from Spanish outlet AS says Guardiola could use his young striker to lure Atletico Madrid into a swap deal, landing Manchester City their stirring defensive midfielder Rodri.

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

Rodri is a nearly year older than 22-year-old Jesus, and is more instrumental to his current club. One of Atletico Madrid’s top talents, his $78 million release clause is an obvious route for City.

If Guardiola doesn’t see Jesus as a huge part of the club’s future, however, the manager may be able to go nearly like-for-like money-wise.

Jesus scored nearly every other game for City in all competitions, nabbing 21 goals in 47 matches, and has 13 goals in 27 caps for Brazil. Those are good numbers, especially with still-electric Sergio Aguero turning 31 this summer.

At his relatively tender age, Jesus has appeared 100 times for Man City and his 45 goals are made more impressive by less than 5600 total minutes in those matches.

Giving up on him to complete his midfield is a tough one. We think it’s more likely Guardiola pays the release clause… unless the manager simply doesn’t rate the player.

Players to watch at the U-20 World Cup

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The U-20 World Cup begins this week in Poland, and there are a bevy of future stars to watch, as well as several who will make their names during the tournament.

We’ll focus on the former. While England’s failure to qualify somewhat limits the Premier League starlets on show, there are still plenty from the English top flight.


Tim Weah, United States (PSG) — After a loan at Celtic and time with the full USMNT, how much can he dominate back in his age group?

Alban Lafont, France (Fiorentina) — At age 20, he’s already the starter between the sticks for his Serie A mainstays.

Diego Lainez, Mexico (Real Betis) — Eighteen with 12 league appearances for Real Betis, Lainez is a massive part of El Tri‘s future and carries four caps to his name.

Ruben Vinagre, Portugal (Wolves) — Wolves were promoted, and Vinagre actually made eight more appearances (17) than he made in the Championship.

Ezequiel Barco, Argentina (Atlanta United) — His sophomore season for the Five Stripes has been better than his debut campaign, though that’s not saying a ton given the hype.

Evan N’Dicka, France (Eintracht Frankfurt) — Plenty of playing time in the Bundesliga at the age of 19 for this towering center back.

Paxton Pomykal, United States (FC Dallas) — Looking good in MLS. How much should that translate on this stage?

Andriy Lunin, Ukraine (Real Madrid) — Won’t be wearing the white of Madrid in meaningful action any time soon, but made four appearances on loan for Leganes as a 20-year-old.

Sebastian Soto, United States (Hannover 96) — Not the American-born Bundesliga starlet we expected had we created this list months ago, but Soto has made his Bundesliga debut, so there’s a lot to like while Josh Sargent works with the full USMNT.

Dan Zagadou, France (Borussia Dortmund) — The left- and center back has 25 first team appearances for BVB at 19.

Diogo Dalot, Portugal (Manchester United) — Red Devils supporters know about this fella, who was purchased under the watch of Jose Mourinho last summer.

Mickael Cuisance, France (Borussia Monchengladbach) — Took a step back after his blockbuster ‘Gladbach breakthrough in 2017-18, but will be a key piece for the favorites.

Moussa Sylla, France (Monaco) — The winger is already a factor for AS Monaco, even if they struggled this season.

Bonus: Erling Håland, Denmark (Red Bull Salzburg); Ronald Araujo, Uruguay (Barcelona); Tom Dele-Bashiru, Nigeira (Manchester City).

De Ligt reportedly chooses Barcelona; Klopp set at CB

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Liverpool, Manchester United, and pretty much everyone but Barcelona looks set to miss out on Matthijs de Ligt.

De Ligt, 19, has paired with Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk while in the Netherlands national team set-up, but reportedly is opting to join Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona.

[ MORE: Brighton hires new boss ]

In the case of Liverpool, Sky Sports says that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp thinks he doesn’t need another center back.

Injuries hit Liverpool’s center backs this season outside of Van Dijk. Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren were rated highly and combined for just over 2500 minutes, while young Joe Gomez suffered a long-term injury midway through the season.

If all are healthy, Liverpool has decent depth. Yet even Gomez doesn’t have the upside to shake a stick at De Ligt if the 19-year-old was truly interested in coming to Anfield.

I mean, “Are you interested in this 19-year-old captain of a Champions League semifinalist? He’s interested in coming there” usually doesn’t yield a firm, “No.”

As for Barcelona, it will reinforce its back line a year after allowing 36 goals. That’s pretty decent, but the Blaugranas‘ third-highest total of the last decade.

Mkhitaryan assured of safety by Azerbaijan ambassador

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The Europa League Final in Azerbaijan has not been getting a lot of positive press due to fans unwillingness to travel for the event and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s fears of stepping foot in the country.

That’s because Mkhitaryan is the captain of Armenia’s national team, and that nation’s long dispute with Azerbaijan.

[ MORE: Brighton hires new boss ]

Arsenal, of course, plays Chelsea in the May 29 final, and Mkhitaryan already missed an earlier UEL match against Azerbaijan powers Qarabag. He’s played plenty for the Gunners this season apart from a broken foot, and his absence would not be welcome news for this London Derby of a European Final.

Azerbaijan’s UK ambassador Tahir Taghizadeh has guaranteed safety for Mkhitaryan, and said he’d be happy to personally offer assurances to the Armenian. On the other hand, this doesn’t sound like the most positive messaging, via Sky Sports:

“My message to Mkhitaryan would be: you’re a footballer, you want to play football? Go to Baku you are safe there, if you want to play the issue then that’s a different story. What I can guarantee is that the Azerbaijan government will do everything what needs to be done and provide safety and security for every fan, player and staff member coming to this game.”

By using the phrase “play the issue,” it does launch the discussion firmly into political waters. One thing’s for sure: The issue may be debatable, but whether a player feels safe deserves to be his call and his call alone.