Football: Hughes rides Arsenal luck

Leicester City 1 Heskey 28 Arsenal 1 Hughes 90 Attendance: 21,628
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The Independent Online
LUCKY ARSENAL? The old nickname was never more appropriate than in this game, dominated by Leicester until the Arsenal midfielder Stephen Hughes struck a 25-yard equaliser in the 90th minute to earn the Premiership champions an ill-deserved point and score the Gunners' first goal in four games.

The corresponding fixture a year ago was a 3-3 classic, featuring a Dennis Bergkamp hat-trick and four goals in injury- time. A game like yesterday's 1-1 draw could possibly make Carlton think again about its bid to buy Arsenal.

Martin O'Neill, the Leicester manager, was certainly of the opinion that his side had thrown away the chance of victory, saying: "We deserved to win and I thought we had it won. It was a poor goal to give away, even though I was glad to see Stephen Hughes shoot from so far out. It now feels like a defeat after we were so comfortable in the game."

Upset as O'Neill was, Arsene Wenger, his Arsenal counterpart, was equally relieved to see his side score their first goal since last month, a three- game problem he described as "becoming like an obsession. I am very pleased with this point, because we also fought to the end as Leicester played like crazies."

Leicester, themselves without a goal in their last two games, took a deserved lead. With 27 minutes gone, the Greek midfielder Theo Zagorakis slipped a short pass to Emile Heskey on the halfway line and the young striker ran on unchallenged by the Arsenal defence, which was without the rested Tony Adams. Heskey celebrated signing his new contract this week by driving his 20-yard shot inside David Seaman's left-hand post.

Arsenal's immediate response was a muted one, with the Premiership champions mustering only one effort of note. On the counter-attack, Ray Parlour ran at Leicester's defence and fed Bergkamp inside the area, whose low shot was pushed round the post by Kasey Keller.

But Leicester were in no mind to sit back on their lead and they continued to press forward and force the game after the break, with Neil Lennon and Muzzy Izzet outstanding in midfield, hitting crosses that exposed Seaman's present uncertain form.

Marc Overmars finally gave Arsenal a glimmer of hope in the 84th minute, when he volleyed a left-footed shot straight at Keller from 12 yards by which time Nicolas Anelka had come on for Christopher Wreh in attack.

But Leicester could blame only themselves in the end for throwing away the chance of picking up their second win of the season. The substitute Stuart Campbell drove a shot across goal in the 78th minute that neither Izzet or Tony Cottee could reach. If they had converted that, they would have been out of reach, but instead they left Hughes the chance to break the home supporters' hearts.