Mahrez winner at Palace keeps the dream alive

Crystal Palace 0:1 Leicester City

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Leicester went 8 points clear at the top of the Premier League with their third consecutive 1-0 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri was able to name an unchanged line-up against a Palace side who had yet to win in 2016, but the Eagles carved out an early chance.
Bolasie’s turn and low shot didn’t unduly test Schmeichel.
City had a more clear cut chance in the 10th minute when a superb Drinkwater ball sent Mahrez in on goal, but outrushing Hennessey blocked with his legs and Dann tidied up the rebound.
In a good spell for Palace, Bolasie had a shot blocked by Morgan and then he sent a dangerous cross over for Zaha, but he failed to find the target at the far post.
But it was City who delighted their followers with a 34th minute lead.
Another slide rule ball from Drinkwater sent Vardy in on the left, and his low cross square across the penalty area was met with a cool side-foot finish from Mahrez, who had timed his run perfectly.

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Another Bolasie shot then deflected off Morgan but Schmeichel reacted well to save with an outstretched leg.
The last chance of the half came when Albrighton cut in from the left and fired in a shot that forced a fine save from Hennessey.

Alan Pardew brought on Kelly and Sako for the second half, while an unchanged City went close though the lively Okazaki early on.
Schmeichel had a busier half, punching away a Cabaye free-kick, and saving a goal-bound Sako effort as Palace pushed forward in search of an equaliser.

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But City should surely have had a penalty in the 80th minute when Dann not only pulled, but completely removed Huth’s shirt. But there was to be no comfort zone for City in a nervy closing spell.
Schmeichel saved from Sako, Cabaye went close with another effort and then the City keeper knocked the ball against substitute Ulloa’s head, with both thankful to see it fly wide of the post.
Delaney denied Vardy a goal with a very timely challenge before the most heart-in-mouth moment arrived in stoppage time.
Former-fox Delaney got on to the end of a Dann’s header, but his shot struck the bar.

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It was Palace’s last chance, and the final whistle saw City 8 points clear at the top of the table, sparking a remarkable 20 minute rendition of: “We’re going to win the league.” by a delirious away section that ignored tannoy pleas for them to make their way out of the ground.
There is still a long way to go in this title run-in but this wonderful City side continue to hurdle every challenge.
Claudio Ranieri waxed lyrical: “Sometimes I’ve said we are at the last turn and now we are on the final, home straight. Now I want to see my horses, how they run.”

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare (Kelly 46), Jedinak (Gayle 78), Ledley, Cabaye, Zaha, Bolasie, Adebayor (Sako 46). Subs Not Used: Speroni, Campbell, Mutch, Puncheon.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Kanté, Drinkwater, Mahrez (Schlupp 85), Albrighton, Okazaki (Ulloa 76), Vardy (Amartey 90). Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Wasilewski, Inler, Gray.

Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 25,041.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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