The Malta Independent on Sunday

Champions Leicester start title defence with defeat


Leicester began the defense of its English Premier League title with a shock 2-1 defeat at Hull, while Tottenham had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Everton as the new season got underway yesterday.

Having defied odds of 5,000-1 to win the league last season, the tables were turned on Leicester as the surprise champions lost to a newly-promoted club that was struggling with pre-season injuries and protests by fans against the owners.

Adama Diomande put Hull ahead in first-half stoppage time, Riyad Mahrez leveled from the penalty spot for Leicester just after the restart and Robert Snodgrass scored the winner in the 57th minute.

Ross Barkley gave Everton a fifth-minute lead in Ronald Koeman's first game in charge, but Erik Lamela headed a second-half equalizer for Spurs.

Two other matches finished 1-1, with Nathan Redmond scoring an equalizer on his Southampto­n debut against a Watford side that finished with 10 men, while a free kick from Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri earned Stoke a point against promoted Middlesbro­ugh.

Leroy Fer scored a late winner as Swansea beat Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor and a header from West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon gave the visitors a 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Manchester City, seen as title favourites had to rely on a McNair own goal three minutes from time to grab the three points at stake.

An Aguero penalty gave Man City an early lead, with Defoe obtaining Sunderland’s temporary equaliser on 71 minutes.

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