Butland howler gifts Leicester draw

Stoke City boss Paul Lambert hailed Jack Butland as the “best goalkeeper in Britain” despite an own goal from the England international that cost his side a potential victory as they drew 1-1 draw at Leicester on Saturday.

Stoke took the lead thanks to a curling long-range effort from Xherdan Shaqiri just before halftime.

The visitors were looking comfortable until Butland fumbled Marc Albrighton’s cross into his own net 20 minutes from time.

But Butland did at least make amends with a stunning save from Riyad Mahrez. Leicester’s Harry Maguire and Matty James also hit the post as Stoke held on for a point.

“He is the best goalkeeper in Britain at the minute,” said Lambert.

“He will make mistakes and sometimes these things make you strong. He made a brilliant save soon after that. I have no fear about Jack Butland because he is a top goalkeeper.”

Lambert’s men remain 19th, but move to within a point of safety.

Leicester edge above Burnley into seventh on goal difference, but will be disappointed not to have won for the first time in four league games after laying siege to the Stoke goal in the final stages.

“We could have (won), but we could also have lost so perhaps a draw is fair,” said Leicester manager Claude Puel. “Their goalkeeper made some good saves, but we also conceded chances.”

Despite their dominance of possession, two tame efforts from Mahrez that-trickled wide were the best the hosts could offer before halftime.

And they were caught by a sucker punch on 43 minutes when Shaqiri strode onto Joe Allen’s pass before bending the ball past Kasper Schmeichel on his weaker right foot from 25 yards.

Leicester were given a lifeline when the normally reliable Butland was distracted by Jamie Vardy’s near post run as he tried to grasp Albrighton’s cross.

However, he quickly made amends with a stunning one-handed stop to prevent Mahrez scoring his first goal since ending his self-imposed exile at Leicester after the Foxes rejected a bid from Manchester City for the Algerian last month.

Butland also got a hand to Maguire’s follow-up to turn his international teammate’s powerful drive onto the post.

Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma then produced a desperate last-ditch tackle to deny Mahrez once more and James headed off the post with Butland beaten from the resulting corner as Leicester were denied.

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