Riyad Mahrez netted a stunning free-kick equaliser in the seventh-minute of injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Leicester City at home to Bournemouth.
It was Mahrez’s first goal since the transfer deadline-day saga that saw him denied a move to Manchester City and subsequently miss Leicester training sessions.
Any lingering ill-feeling was obliterated after the otherwise impressive Steve Cook needlessly fouled Kelechi Iheanacho and the Algeria international steered home masterfully form 25 yards, sparking wild celebrations inside the King Power Stadium as he was mobbed by his team-mates.
Eighth-placed Leicester remain winless in five Premier League matches following three consecutive home draws and Claude Puel’s men were good value for a share of the spoils after mounting sustained second-half pressure.
On the other hand, their slapdash defending during the opening 45 minutes could have seen Bournemouth out of sight before Josh King drew a foul from Marc Albrighton to convert a 35th-minute penalty.
Eddie Howe’s side have only lost once in 10 matches since Christmas but will rue not being further than six points away from the relegation zone in 11th.
Lewis Cook’s attempted clearance in the 14th minute went awry to the extent it played Riyad Mahrez through, meaning Asmir Begovic needed to stand firm and save sharply.
Daniel Amartey was back in the Leicester side for the first time since their January trip to Everton but injury ended the Ghana international’s participation in the 20th minute.
The early change appeared to rob Leicester of their poise and King should have done better than prodding tamely wide after he robbed Wilfred Ndidi to bare down on goal.
There were two more let-offs for Leicester immediately afterwards, with Junior Stanislas lifting a side-footed effort over from 12 yards before King failed to divert the winger’s cross past Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester’s penalty area was seemingly trapped in varying degrees of chaos, with the culmination being Albrighton’s clumsy foul on King.
The Norway international ignored plenty of pre-kick chat from Schmeichel to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Albrighton’s afternoon almost went from bad to worse in the final minute of the half when Callum Wilson nearly capitalised on a dreadful backpass.
Having seen off that avoidable danger, Schmeichel might have been facing another penalty early in the second half.
Referee Lee Probert showed leniency when Ndidi appeared to pull back Charlie Daniels on the end of Stanislas’ throughball.
Amartey’s replacement Ben Chilwell saw Cook turn his 59th-minute drive over, the Bournemouth defender recovering well from only partially clearing Jamie Vardy’s low cross.
Iheanacho came on for Adrien Silva to bolster the Leicester attack and Bournemouth found themselves under growing strain – Foxes captain Wes Morgan bursting forward from centre-back to head over before Vardy shanked off-target.
Morgan was unable to turn home a 73rd minute free-kick before defensive partner Harry Maguire saw two shots blocked from the resulting corner, the latter inadvertently by Iheanacho.
Bournemouth’s set-piece defending increasingly owed more to bravery than organisation, with Begovic wilting under the strain and grateful to Dan Gosling’s flying block to thwart Mahrez.
Steve Cook looked set to be one of Bournemouth’s heroes but his lunge on Iheanacho after Simon Francis’ head injury prolonged stoppage time allowed Mahrez to produce a heart-breaking sting in the tail.
Key Opta stats:
– Leicester have not won any of their last five Premier League games (D3 L2); their longest run without a win since the final six games of Craig Shakespeare’s tenure (D3 L3).
– The Foxes remain winless against Bournemouth in the Premier League (P6 W0 D5 L1) – the only other team they’ve played as often without winning in the competition is Bolton Wanderers (six games, no wins).
– Bournemouth have scored in 10 consecutive games for the first time in the Premier League, netting in every game they’ve played since Boxing Day 2017.