March 01, 2016

LEICESTER, England (AP) Premier League leader Leicester dropped two points in its unlikely bid for the title by drawing 2-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.

Craig Gardner curled in a 50th-minute free kick to deny Leicester a win that would have pushed the team provisionally five points clear ahead of games for title rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City on Wednesday.

Leicester fell behind to a goal by Salomon Rondon in the 11th minute, but roared back when central midfielders Danny Drinkwater and Andy King scored in the 31st and 45th minutes, respectively.

''We should have won the game. They only had a couple of shots and they scored,'' King said. ''We've got that belief, so we always thought we would score. It's disappointing.''

Leicester, which struck the crossbar twice and squandered a slew of late chances, is bidding to become arguably the most unlikely title winner in the history of England's top league, having only narrowly avoided relegation last season.

Second-place Tottenham will climb into first place, on goal difference, if it can beat West Ham away in the second tranche of fixtures in the 28th round.

Leicester hadn't conceded at home in 2016 until Rondon ran onto Darren Fletcher's through-ball, shoulder-barged Robert Huth to the ground, and slipped a finish between goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel's legs.

Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy - Leicester's effervescent strike pairing - both wasted close-range opportunities before Drinkwater took aim from 30 meters with a shot that struck Jonas Olsson, looped over goalkeeper Ben Foster, and nestled in the corner of the net.

Then, after Vardy hit the bar with a header, Marc Albrighton drove a long pass to the far post and Riyad Mahrez flicked the ball down to King, who swept a first-time shot into the far corner. King was only starting because of an injury to first-choice midfielder N'Golo Kante.

The noise ratcheted up a notch inside King Power Stadium, but Gardner quietened the atmosphere with his goal, a clipped free kick from 25 meters that left Schmeichel - standing behind his wall - rooted to the spot.

It was all Leicester after that. Okazaki headed the ball against the bar in an almost replica of Vardy's chance, Foster saved brilliantly from Jeffrey Schlupp, Vardy and Wes Morgan, and Leonardo Ulloa glanced a last-gasp chance wide.

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