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Past champions honour the new before draw

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester: Chelsea give guard of honour ahead of tired tie

PAST champions honoured the new as Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City walked out to a guard of honour at Stamford Bridge for this season-ending draw between the two sides.
After the season they had, few could have blamed Leicester’s players, who had lost just three times in the league all season, for what turned to out to be a relatively tame display from the newly crowned Premier League champions.
Midfielder Danny Drinkwater equalised with 10 minutes of the match remaining after Chelsea had taken a second-half lead through Cesc Fabregas.
Despite playing a strong side, including the likes of Jamie Vardy and Ridyad Mahrez, Leicester couldn’t force their way behind Chelsea’s strong back line.
Ranieri, who managed Chelsea for three-and-a-half years at the beginning of the Roman Abramovich regime, took the plaudits from the home supporters, who sung his name through the match.
Meanwhile, the match marked the end of the second spell in charge for Guus Hiddink, who hands over the reins of this Chelsea side to Italian Antonio Conte. As he did last time around, the Dutchman did a fine job in steadying the ship.
This Chelsea squad, however, is need of severe attention, and fans will hope Conte’s arrival will signal a reverse in fortunes.
Spaniards Pedro and Fabregas, as well as striker Bertrand Traore, all had opportunities to open the deadlock for the home side.
Midway through the first half, the home supporters were united in a moment of applause for their captain John Terry, who could be on his way out of the club. The defender, who made his debut in October 1998, is out of contract in the summer.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s players continued their onslaught on Leicester’s goal. Kasper Schmeichel’s 40th-minute save from a shot by Willian was the pick of the bunch.
On 65 minutes, Fabregas was given the opportunity to put his side ahead when Nemanja Matic was fouled by substitute Jeffrey Schlupp in the penalty area. The midfielder stroked the ball beyond Schmeichel.
However, Chelsea’s players could not build upon the lead, and on 82 minutes, Drinkwater picked up the ball 30 yards out before firing a firm shot beyond goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
It was enough to seal the draw.


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