Manchester City 1:3 Leicester City
One of the biggest games in Leicester’s history saw them triumphant with a 3-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in this Saturday lunchtime table-topping clash…
Claudio Ranieri was able to name an unchanged side for this vital game and they got off to a flying start at a rainswept Etihad.
Although this was a record attendance at the Etihad many supporters were still absent due to traffic problems when Leicester took a 3rd minute lead.
After Hart had punched a threatening Albrighton cross clear, the ball was fed out to Mahrez on the right where he was bundled over by Kolarov.
Mahrez delivered the free-kick into the six yard box, where Huth had nipped ahead of Demicheli, getting a vital touch that deflected off the defender giving Hart no chance.
The already soaked Leicester players celebrated gleefully.
Five minutes later the visitors almost doubled their lead when a fantastic diagonal ball from Albrighton saw Vardy bearing down on goal. Hart was out smartly to block him and then Otamendi put in a timely challenge to deny Okazaki who was following up and shaping to shoot.
Hart was soon in action again, this time sliding out to meet Drinkwater who had been slipped in down the left by Mahrez.
City’s first chance came when Silva topped off a slick passing move with a low shot, that beat Schmiechel’s left hand post by a foot.
Leicester were happy to let City have the possession at this stage and one spell was ended with a superb crossfield Mahrez ball that picked out Vardy on the left. The England striker powered past Otamendi and delivered a low cross that saw Okazaki just crowded out at the near post.
Leicester had a scare when Fuchs and Zabaleta collided on the edge of the area, but referee Taylor awarded a free-kick. Kolarov’s fiercely delivered free-kick was bravely headed over by Huth when a mere mortal would have been tempted to duck.
Touré sent a shot well over after Sterling teed him up and Leicester took their precious lead down the tunnel at half-time.
Just as they had in the first half, Leicester scored three minutes after the restart.
City broke upfield with Kanté evading a couple of challenges. He passed to Mahrez, who rode an Otamendi tackle and then feinted round Demichelis before firing in a fantastic shot that left Hart standing.
He executed a forward roll before sharing the moment with three tiers of Leicester fans who were scarcely able to believe their own eyes.
City skipper Touré was then replaced by Fernando, who was soon in the action, forcing a superb point-blank reaction save from Schmeichel when he got his head to a corner kick.
On the hour the fantasy football continued as Leicester went 3-0 up. Fuchs’ corner from the left was met with a towering header from Huth and Hart was rooted to the spot again as it found the top left hand corner.
Vardy went clear on goal but Leicester were denied a fourth when Hart stood in his way and blocked the shot with his chest.
Agüero had a couple of efforts blocked as Leicester defended brilliantly, and they were only breached in the 88th minute when it was too late. Celina delivered a cross from the right and Agüero glanced a near post header across Schmeichel.
Hearts were in mouths moments later when a careless Simpson backpass put Agüero in on goal but we were spared a nerve-shredding finale when Schmeichel forced him wide and his shot sailed harmlessly over.
The final whistle confirmed a 3-1 victory in perhaps the most incredible game of an astonishing season. The table showed Leicester six points clear, as they continued to defy football logic, and one by one the numbers of people saying they ‘can’t’ win the league are being reduced.
Claudio Ranieri reacted to Leicester being made the bookmakers’ favourites for the title:
“I don’t believe the bookmakers. At the beginning of the season the bookmakers said, ‘sack Ranieri’. I hope one time they are right!”
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Demichelis, Kolarov, Touré (Fernando (52), Fernandinho, Silva (Celina 77), Delph (Iheanacho 52), Sterling, Agüero. Subs Not Used: Caballero, Clichy, Sagna, A. Garcia.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Kanté, Drinkwater, Albrighton (Dyer 86), Mahrez (Gray 77), Okazaki (Ulloa 81), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Wasilewski, Chilwell, King.
Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 54,693.
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