MAN CITY 1, LEICESTER CITY 0
Vincent Kompany, Manchester City’s Captain Fantastic, scored the goal that could have sealed back-to-back Premier League titles.
On a nervy night at the Etihad, the 33-year-old centre back came up with the decisive goal to defeat a spirited Leicester City and make it 13 league wins in a row.
Kompany scored the 21st and arguably the most important goal in almost 11 years at City who must win at Brighton on Sunday to clinch a fourth Premier League title since 2012.
It was a 30-yard screamer into the top corner which, incredibly, was his first on target goal attempt from outside the box since December 2013.
And it was a case of City learning how to grind out victories as five of their last 10 Premier League wins have been 1-0.Embed from Getty Images
City manager Pep Guardiola hailed Kompany declaring: “This club has a century of history and until recently did not have a lot of trophies in the cabinet.
“The likes of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany have been the making of the club.
“In the 10 years he has been here we have spoken many times that, when he has been fit and not injured, he has been incredible and a real defender.”
Guardiola also spoke about his side’s desire to win the game.
He said: “It was an incredible performance, incredible. It was so good to win.
“I am so happy because no win today and it would have been almost impossible to win the title It is in our hands as we have 95 points and one more win at Brighton will clinch the title.
“We were seven points behind Liverpool but never gave up and have won 13 games in a row.”
Guardiola, who predicts Leicester “will be up there” next season, added the game at Brighton will be no gimme.
He continued: “It will be tough at Brighton as they will be playing in the Premier League again next season and after their result (draw) at Arsenal on Sunday.
“They are very strong at set piece and going to play for pride.”
City put their trust in teenager Phil Foden for arguably their biggest game of the season with the title tantalisingly within their grasp.
Foden replaced Leroy Sane, the one change from the side that won at Burnley in their last league fixture.
Leicester, with six wins and one draw in their last nine games, kept the same side that beat Arsenal 3-0 last time out.
It was clear from the start it would be no stroll in the park for City with the Foxes robust opposition as they asked several early questions from the hosts, notably when Ricardo Pereira had a shot blocked by Vincent Kompany.
City’s best chance came when David Silva picked out Foden who was completely free in front of goal but he shot straight at keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Technology was required to rule Sergio Aguero’s 32nd minute effort had not fully crossed the goalline unlike the winner at Burnley that did so by 29 millimetres.
Aguero’s header from Ilkay Gundogan’s corner struck the bar before being spectacularly clawed out by Schmeichel.
David Silva fired narrowly wide as City began to create chances and become more of a threat.
Bernardo Silva forced a diving save from Schmeichel at the end of an opening period in which Leicester nullified the threat from City.
Raheem Sterling had a chance early in the second half but, stretching, he headed over from four yards.
Guardiola made his first change in the 56th minute when Sane replaced Foden with Sterling switched to a central striking role.
Leicester scored a notable victory as they became the first team in the Premier League this season to prevent City scoring in the opening hour of a league game at the Etihad.
And Leicester almost snatched the lead on the break mid-half when Jamie Vardy released James Maddison who fired agonisingly wide from 30 yards.
City were denied by a brilliant block by Schmeichel to deny Aguero as City remained frustrated.
The deadlock was finally broken with 20 minutes left from the unlikeliest source, centre back Kompany.
He picked up the ball advanced forward and, out of nothing, found the top corner with a scorching drive from 30 yards, City’s 100th home goal of the season in all competitions.
The Etihad, so tense and nervous, suddenly erupted in what was possibly the defining moment of their campaign.
City made a second change with four minutes left when Aguero made way for Gabriel Jesus.
Leicester had a chance to draw level when Hamza Choudhury released substitute Kelechi Iheanacho who hurriedly dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box.
City made their last change as three minutes of added time began when David Silva was replaced by centre back John Stones as they were happy to play keep the ball in the corner and allow the three minutes of stoppage time to elapse.
The final whistle was greeted by euphoric celebrations on and off the field and a customary lap of honour after the last home game.
There was a celebratory feel at the Etihad though it is not yet job done. They still need to muster one more win at the Amex Stadium on Sunday before they can begin for real.