Michael Keane’s Leicester suffered a setback on Friday as Birmingham stole a shock 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium thanks to a controversial 90th-minute penalty.
The Foxes were set to triumph thanks to a Curtis Davies own goal and Jeff Schlupp’s second-half strike, outweighing Nikola Zigic’s riposte. But victory was taken away after a spot-kick for a foul on Wes Thomas – replays showed it was outside the area – was converted by Chris Burke.
The draw leaves the Foxes one point shy of the play-off places in the Championship, having played a game more than every other team in the top half of the table. However, one positive note was Keane’s accomplished display at the back, playing a full match and going close with a neat header.
After the match, manager Nigel Pearson remained optimistic about his side’s promotion hopes but accepted he has to be realistic: Pearson said: “It’s still doable for us, but really we’ve now got to win our last four games.”
Keane also played in the 3-2 win over Bolton on Tuesday to put his side in the final play-off spot with four games to go.
In Germany, Kiko Macheda came off the bench as Stuttgart recorded a 2-0 over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga, easing their slight fears of relegation. The Italian striker, since joining on loan, has made nine appearances but is yet to score. He was an unused substitute as Stuttgart showed resilience against a battling Freiburg side in their German Cup semi, winning 2-1. The Swabians face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the final – and will have European competition next season.
Fabio was an unused substitute as Queens Park Rangers lost 2-0 at Everton, all but sealing their plight, while Angelo Henriquez was an 89th minute substitute as Wigan Athletic booked a place in the FA Cup final with a 2-0 win over Millwall at Wembley. Henriquez did not manage to get off the bench at the Etihad against City in the league on Wednesday as a Carlos Tevez goal seperated the two FA Cup finalists. Henriquez might get a look in next time out when his side travel to West Ham at the weekend after seeing his teammates miss a string of chances against City.
In the Championship, Wilfried Zaha played a full match as Crystal Palace dropped points by drawing 0-0 with lowly Barnsley at Selhurst Park. Bizarrely, the visitors were forced to wear the Eagles’ away strip because referee Keith Stroud felt their own second strip clashed. He was booked in their 3-0 loss away to Ipswich on Tuesday too and was frustrated by a resolute Ipswich defence. He had a number of shots blocked by experienced defenders Luke Chambers and Richard Stearman as his side’s play-off position comes under threat.
Scott Wootton and Davide Petrucci are still injured and missed both Peterborough’s 3-2 win over Watford and their 0-0 draw at home to Brighton on Tuesday, while Reece Brown did not make the cut in both of Ipswich’s games this week – missing a chance to face-off against new signing Zaha and was not in the squad for the weekend 2-1 loss at home to high-flying Hull City at Portman Road, where ex-Red Robbie Brady scored for the Tigers.
Sam Johnstone played yet another full match for Walsall, who earned a creditable 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe United. The outing was the young goalkeeper’s fifth since joining on loan; he’s conceded just two goals and kept three clean sheets.
Also in League One, Sean McGinty was left out as Tranmere Rovers lost 1-0 at Hartlepool. Similarly, in Belgium, Luke Giverin missed out on Royal Antwerp’s 2-1 defeat in the Second Division.
Finally, Portuguese winger Bebe continues to shine for Rio Ave, who managed to record a 2-1 win over KV Oostende to end a run of three straight defeats, leaving them in eighth place in the Primeira Liga with five games to go.