Leicester's Vardy breaks scoring record in 1-1 draw
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND >> Jamie Vardy became the first player to score in 11 straight English Premier League games in helping Leicester draw 1-1 with Manchester United, capping a frenzied day of goals and drama that ended with Manchester City back in first place.
Vardy beat former United star Ruud van Nistelrooy's record — held since 2003 — for netting in consecutive games by scoring in the 24th minute at King Power Stadium on Saturday, continuing a stunning run that began in late August.
"It's unbelievable," said Vardy, who was playing non-league football four seasons ago and wasn't even a regular starter for Leicester last season.
Leicester began the day in first place, scarcely believable given the team narrowly fought off relegation only last season, but slipped to second after conceding an equalizer to Bastian Schweinsteiger in first-half injury time.
Man City reclaimed top spot after grabbing three of the 25 goals scored across six matches — an unprecedented total in the Premier League for that number of games.
City beat Southampton 3-1 at home to end a sobering week on a high, following losses to Liverpool in the Premier League and Juventus in the Champions League.
Record signing Kevin De Bruyne scored the opening goal for City, with the playmaker setting up the others for Fabian Delph and Aleksandar Kolarov.
"It was a very important reaction. It was not an easy week," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who played down an ankle injury to star striker Sergio Aguero that forced the Argentina international off an hour in.
The most dramatic game was at Dean Court, where Junior Stanislas scored Bournemouth's last-gasp equalizer in a wild 3-3 draw against Everton. Four of the game's goals went in from the 80th, with Ross Barkley scoring in the fifth minute of stoppage time to restore the lead for Everton.
Newcastle dropped into the bottom three after losing 5-1 at Crystal Palace, which is coached by Alan Pardew — the manager who left Newcastle at the start of the year. Newcastle has conceded at least three goals in four of its last seven matches, piling the pressure on its manager Steve McClaren following reports this week that he was involved in a training-ground bust-up with some players.
"Character and fight is built in adversity, we are going through it and we have to fight it," said McClaren, a former England manager.
Even more galling for Newcastle fans is the fact that their team has taken the place of northeast rival Sunderland in the relegation zone. Sunderland capitalized on the sending-off of Ryan Shawcross soon after halftime to beat Stoke 2-0 through goals in the final eight minutes by Patrick van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore.
Aston Villa was five points adrift in last place after matching the club's longest run without a victory — 13 games — by losing 3-2 to Watford. Troy Deeney, who was released by Villa as a 15-year-old, scored what proved to be Watford's winner in the 85th.
Vardy's record-breaking goal was typical for a player who has become one of the hottest properties in English football. Racing onto a through-ball behind the defense and one-on-one with the goalkeeper David de Gea, Vardy took a touch, composed himself, and shot powerfully into the bottom corner.
He wheeled away in celebration, pointing repeatedly to his chest, shouting out loud and taking in the adulation of the crowd before getting mobbed by teammates.
"I've just been keeping my head down this week, not letting it sink in my head and just concentrate," Vardy said. "It was just another game we tried to get three points from."
Leicester is now second on goal difference behind City, but that was just a footnote on a memorable day for Vardy.
"We wanted to win today, but also we wanted to help Jamie achieve the record," Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. "Well done to my players for helping Jamie Vardy to score.
"We want to keep him here for a long time. I hope Vardy continues these very good performances."
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