Manchester City 1 – 3 Leicester City

Leicester City took a significant step in their sensational bid for the Barclays Premier League title with a ruthless 3-1 win at Manchester City.
The home team were favourites to replace their opponents at the summit at kick-off, ambitions that were soon dented when Robert Huth handed Leicester a third-minute lead at the Etihad Stadium.
Huth led an impeccable defensive display as Manuel Pellegrini’s team had little to show for sustained periods of possession, while appearing vulnerable to their opponents’ razor-sharp work on the counter-attack.
Much of the pre-match talk from the Manchester City camp revolved around the desire to give Pellegrini a glorious send-off after confirmation that Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will take his job from next season.
But their deeds on the pitch failed to measure up to the talk and Leicester exploited them mercilessly.
Riyad Mahrez danced through the defence to score his 14th Barclays Premier League goal of the season before Huth headed his second, with Sergio Aguero’s strike coming too late to deny Leicester a six-point advantage at the top.
Claudio Ranieri told television reporters before the match that Manchester City “have to win; we have to play” and his side began with freedom and confidence to startle their hosts.
N’Golo Kante burst through a challenge from Yaya Toure and, when Leicester worked possession wide, Mahrez skipped around left-back Aleksandar Kolarov to win a free-kick.

From Mahrez’s delivery, Martin Demichelis allowed Huth to muscle in front of him and bundle the ball into the net.
Barclays Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy raced through a still reeling home defence to call Joe Hart into action, the England goalkeeper also being forced to race out in the 11th minute to deny Danny Drinkwater on the break as Leicester settled into the clinical counter-attacking style that has become their trademark.
David Silva manoeuvred into space inside the Leicester box and shot wide, but there were further concerns for Pellegrini in the 20th minute when Vardy sped past Nicolas Otamendi and Shinji Okazaki just failed to convert his low cross.

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Huth then got his body in the way of Kolarov’s free-kick after Christian Fuchs fouled Pablo Zabaleta perilously close to the right-hand edge of the area.
The German defender prevented Aguero from getting on the end of Raheem Sterling’s looping cross and the striker thudded a shot into Kasper Schmeichel, as Manchester City upped their pressure but failed to find a way through before half-time.
After the break Leicester started in a similar manner to the first hald. Mahrez punished them with a dazzling second.
The excellent Kante drove the latest break and fed the winger to dance around Otamendi’s lunge and ease past Demichelis to finish emphatically.
Pellegrini responded with a double change, Toure and Fabian Delph making way for Kelechi Iheanacho and Fernando. The latter almost pulled a goal back when Schmeichel superbly saved his header from Silva’s corner.
But a set-piece at the other end left Manchester City further in the mire, Huth heading a second after an hour.
Hart again denied the tireless Vardy, who also blasted into the side-netting in the 81st minute, as the swagger in Leicester’s play was on full display.

They pulled one back when Aguero guided a cross from Barclays Premier League debutant substitute Bersant Celina past Schmeichel and the Man City forward almost capitalised on a poor backpass from Danny Simpson to reduce the deficit further.

But Pellegrini’s men fightback ended there and they could conclude the weekend in fourth place depending on the results for Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “We had chances but it was a difficult game. I expected more from the beginning because it was very important, we are at home and playing top of the table, but we couldn’t do it.”
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri: “We play without pressure because we don’t have to win the league. We must enjoy. This league is so strange and now it is important to think about Arsenal.”

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