MANCHESTER CITY beat Leicester City 1-0 in the fight to finish second to Premier League champions-elect Liverpool, writes the Voice of Sport from King Power Stadium (Feb 22).
The visitors were always the better side and sealed the game courtesy of a neat finish by Gabriel Jesus ten minutes from time after an unchallenged run by Riyad Mahrez who was mercilessly booed by fans who idolised him when the Foxes won the league title a few years ago.
The opening period belonged to Pep Guardiola’s slick passing side who despite near 70 per cent possession could not take the lead.
In fact the best chance of the half came after just eight minutes when the unlucky Jamie Vardy did Fernandinho for pace but saw his right foot effort hit the post.
Thereafter Guardiola’s men created the best openings. Mahrez warmed Kasper Schmeichel’s hands minutes after the Vardy chance as the away team began to take control.
Ilkay Gundogan was then denied by Schmeichel’s legs in the 17th minute while Benjamin Mendy saw his shot deflected for a corner.
It seemed just a matter of time before Guardiola’s men found the net but try as they might they couldn’t deliver. The next City player to be wasteful was Kevin De Bruyne who fired wide after more good work by the inspired Mahrez.
The home side’s first effort on target came after 37 minutes. The mercurial James Maddison saw his free kick well saved by Ederson.
The most controversial moment of the half came when the lively Kelechi Iheanacho was felled in the City penalty area by Ederson. Referee Paul Tierney signalled for a corner while most of the home support called for a penalty. I could see their point.
The second half belonged almost exclusively to Guardiola’s troops. De Bruyne was denied by the busy Schmeichel as the reigning top flight champions went for the throat.
The action was to reach fever pitch on the hour as Man City were awarded a penalty by VAR after Gundogan’s shot hit the arm of Dennis Praet.
Up stepped up Sergio Aguero but Schmeichel saved and the King Power Stadium went ballistic.
This was now turning into a personal battle between the home ‘keeper and Aguero, as just moments later the Dane saved the striker’s effort with his left foot.
The out of sorts Vardy did have another chance to salvage something for the Foxes but it was Jesus who proved the saviour for Manchester City.
Leicester City midfield ace Youri Tielemans said: The confidence is still there. We’re not forgetting what we’ve done since the beginning of the season.
“We’ve worked very hard and we’ve won a lot of games. We’re still there at the top of the table, so we need to carry on. It’s about results now and we’re in to right place mentally.
“The feeling is the same as it has been all season. We know that we have a good team with great players.”
Of the vociferous King Power home support, he added: “It’s massive to be honest. Every time I walk into the stadium, I feel the support in the atmosphere. It makes you feel stronger when you know you have so may people behind you.
“We have very, very good supporters. They have been very good with me since I came here. When you feel the love and support, it makes you feel so positive and that’s a big reason why Leicester is doing so well.”