LONDON: Chelsea manager Frank Lampard had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Leicester City in his first home match in charge on Sunday as a second-half header by Wilfred Ndidi cancelled out Mason Mount’s early goal on his home debut.
Chelsea raced into a quick lead when the 20 year-old Mount, one of a crop of young players given their chance by Lampard, stole the ball from a dallying Ndidi and left Kasper Schmeichel with no chance with his shot in the seventh minute.
The goal capped an opening onslaught by the new-look Blues who were roared on by the home fans excited at the return of Chelsea’s all-time top scorer Lampard as manager.
But Leicester grew into the game and equalised in the 67th minute when Ndidi atoned for his first-half error by heading home a James Maddison corner. Maddison, Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans spurned chances to win it for Leicester late on.
In the day’s other match, Sheffield United claimed their first win since returning to the Premier League, beating Crystal Palace 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal by John Lundstram.
The midfielder finished from close range in the 47th minute after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita could only tip away a driven cross into the box.
United, back in the top flight for the first time in 12 years, drew 1-1 at Bournemouth on the opening weekend. Palace have yet to score a goal this season, having started with a 0-0 home draw against Everton.
CITY FUME OVER SPURS STALEMATE
In Saturday’s late match, Manchester City were held to a controversial 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur, allowing Premier League title rivals Liverpool to gain an early two-point advantage.
City’s first outing of this campaign at the Etihad ended in a draw after a VAR review rubbed out Gabriel Jesus’s injury-time effort.
The Brazilian drove in what looked like the winner but, as City celebrated, VAR officials spotted a handball by City defender Aymeric Laporte before Jesus struck home.
The incident had echoes of City’s Champions League exit to Spurs in April, when they also had what would have been a decisive late goal ruled out by VAR.
“It was deja vu, deja vu,” said City manager Pep Guardiola, unhappy at what he saw as inconsistency in the use of the video system.
City took the lead in the 20th minute through a Raheem Sterling header but three minutes later Erik Lamela brought Spurs back level.
Sergio Aguero restored City’s lead 10 minutes before the break, with the excellent Kevin De Bruyne once again the provider with a low ball.
Mauricio Pochettino made an inspired Spurs substitution when he sent on Lucas Moura in the second half and the Brazilian scored with his first touch, beating Kyle Walker to head in a Lamela corner.
But despite an outstanding contest, the game will inevitably be remembered for the late overturning of Jesus’s goal.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019