Vardy breaks scoring record, Leicester holds United 1-1
LEICESTER, England (AP) — Jamie Vardy 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.
The Leicester striker had just made English Premier League history.
Vardy became the first player to score in 11 straight Premier League games when he netted the opening goal in Leicester’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United on Saturday.
Bastian Schweinsteiger equalized for United, ensuring Leicester slipped from its surprising position at the league summit, but that was just a footnote on a memorable day for Vardy.
Four seasons ago, he was playing non-league football for tiny northern team Fleetwood Town. Now, at 28, he is the hottest forward in the English game and a record-breaker.
“It’s unbelievable — I think I got a bit carried away with myself,” Vardy said about his celebration. “I’ve just been keeping my head down this week, not letting it sink in my head, and just concentrate. It was just another game we tried to get three points from.”
The record-breaking goal was typical Vardy. Racing in behind the defense and one-on-one with the goalkeeper, it was a position the pacey striker had found himself in plenty of times in his recent scoring spree — and the result wound up being the same.
He took a touch from Christian Fuchs’ perfectly delivered through-ball in the 24th, composed himself, and shot powerfully past goalkeeper David de Gea. The King Power Stadium rocked to the tune of Vardy’s 14th goal of a breakthrough campaign, and former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy was no longer the owner of the record.
“Well done vardy7!” Van Nistelrooy, who scored in 10 straight Premier League games in 2003, posted on Twitter soon after Vardy’s goal. “You’re number one now and you deserved it.”
Vardy is a throwback, an old-school striker who never stops running and preys on the shoulder of the last defender. Things seem to happen whenever he is on the ball.
There was excitement whenever Vardy received possession on Saturday, inside or outside the penalty box, but he didn’t seem burdened by the weight of the occasion when he was given his big chance. His finish was powerful and unerring — gone are the days when he was viewed as a raw, erratic striker.
“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.”
But Vardy’s latest goal wasn’t enough to keep Leicester top of the league.
Schweinsteiger lost his marker, Shinji Okazaki, at a corner in first-half injury time and headed in Daley Blind’s cross for his first goal for United after his summer move from Bayern Munich.
Leonardo Ulloa squandered Leicester’s best chance of a winner, when his weak shot at the end of a rapid counterattack was saved by De Gea’s right foot in the 66th.
Leicester slipped to second place, behind Manchester City on goal difference.