Wilfred Ndidi’s deflected strike breaks West Ham hearts

Visitors were within minutes of a battling victory after Mark Noble was sent off

Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi celebrates scoring their late equaliser in the Premier League draw with West Ham United. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi celebrates scoring their late equaliser in the Premier League draw with West Ham United. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

 

Leicester City 1 West Ham United 1

Wilfred Ndidi’s late equaliser rescued a point for Leicester against a West Ham side who battled valiantly with 10 men following a red card for captain Mark Noble.

Fabian Balbuena’s first West Ham goal looked like it might be enough for victory when he scored after half an hour. Eight minutes later Noble was sent off for a challenge on Ndidi.

Leicester laid siege to the West Ham goal thereafter and finally made the breakthrough after 89 minutes with Ndidi’s deflected strike making it 1-1.

Ndidi’s effort rescued Leicester from a third straight Premier League loss, a defeat which would have been scrutinised further following Claude Puel’s decision to drop Jamie Vardy.

The striker touched the ball just 11 times during the defeat to Arsenal on Monday and left the field of play five minutes before the final whistle at the Emirates Stadium because of a stomach problem. The issue also caused him to miss a training session this week.

Vardy resumed training on Thursday and declared himself “back to full strength” on Instagram a day later. However, Puel decided to leave out his star striker and revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Kelechi Iheanacho leading the line in attack.

It looked like a good decision when, with only two minutes on the clock, Iheanacho swept in a cross from Marc Albrighton. But the offside flag was up.

That was about as good as it got for Leicester in the first half as West Ham, who started the game tardily, improved and took control.

A lovely piece of skill by Felipe Anderson saw the Brazilian bring the ball down, glide past a couple of defenders and work Kasper Schmeichel with a fierce shot from the corner of the box.

Robert Snodgrass flashed a couple of efforts wide and it was no surprise when West Ham went ahead.

Anderson chipped the ball to the back post from a Snodgrass free-kick and Declan Rice headed it back across the penalty area where Balbuena saw his diving header hit the inside of a post before getting up to fire the rebound into an empty net from close range.

The complexion of the match changed with Noble’s red card. The West Ham captain slid in on Ndidi, catching the Leicester midfielder on the shin. Referee Michael Oliver quickly pulled out his red card.

Despite the obvious surprise of Noble and his manager Manuel Pellegrini, the Northumberland official made the right decision. The challenge was late, high and dangerous.

Leicester almost took immediate advantage of their numerical advantage by equalising just before half-time but Vicente Iborra’s diving header was brilliantly saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

With Leicester chasing the game, Puel introduced Vardy for the start of the second half, with Rachid Ghezzal making way, and the striker flicked a header wide.

West Ham were up against it with 10 men and Leicester, who had a couple of penalty appeals turned down, were starting to create openings regularly.

Fabianski made a fine double save to deny Albrighton just after the hour mark before Vardy glanced another header over the crossbar. Harry Maguire then saw a header clip the top of the bar after 67 minutes.

West Ham should have made sure of all three points eight minutes from time but substitute Angelo Ogbonna was unable to turn a free header on target.

Ndidi made them pay when his long-range shot took a huge deflection off Balbuena and spun the ball into the top corner of the net.

The match ended on a sour note with Leicester’s Daniel Amartey being carried from the field on a stretcher needing oxygen after appearing to get his studs caught in the turf.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.