Leicester City 0, Manchester City 1
Gabriel Jesus came off the bench to score a late winner for Manchester City at the King Power Stadium to beat close challengers Leicester City after Sergio Aguero missed a penalty.Embed from Getty Images
It was only the second time this season that City had kept consecutive Premier League clean sheets but City had to fight hard and ride their luck to earn the vital points as City secured their second win after being banned from European football for two years by UEFA.
The result cut the gap to league leaders Liverpool to 19 points while extending City’s lead over 3rd place Leicester to 7 points – Spurs in 5th were 17 points behind the Blues.
The clamour for Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson to take spot kicks will be growing after City wore down Leicester City, who were playing without a recognised defensive midfielder, won a controversial spot kick.
Beyond the late winner, it was a tale of two handballs for this game, with VAR intervening just once, to award Manchester City a penalty which was missed by Sergio Aguero.
The same VAR had seemingly missed a red card offence by Giovani Lo Celso on Cesar Azpilicueta in the lunchtime kick off.
But there was controversy when Kevin De Bruyne’s earlier handball was excused as he appeared to be protecting his face in the first half of this close contest.
While Leicester fans were displeased with that incident they were fuming by the time Dennis Praet was penalised for a handball in the second half before City’s penalty woes continued with another missed spot kick – this time by Sergio Aguero.
Aguero joined Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling on the list of City players who have missed Premier League spot kicks for City recently.
City went with just three changes from the side that beat West Ham in the rearranged Premier League game in midweek.
Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi, and David Silva stepped down and were replaced by Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez.
Leicester City were playing with a recognised defensive midfielder as Wilfried Ndidi was injured and Hamza Choudhury was suspended but they still looked the more effective.
Jamie Vardy hit the post after an early City mistake left Ederson struggling after the England striker had gone past Fernandinho with less than eight minutes on the clock.
Ilkay Gundogan’s scuffed shot went straight to Kasper Schmeichel as City took control of the game, bossing the possession but ineffective with the final ball.
The Foxes were much more effective with what little of the ball they say – James Maddison’s free kicks were a danger.
VAR controversy after Kevin De Bruyne handball penalty not given
Kevin De Bruyne put his hand up to protect his face and ended up accidentally blocking one of Maddison’s free kicks without intervention from VAR, while Ederson had to save from another of the talented midfielder’s set pieces.
Ederson clattered Iheanacho as the former City striker tried to get on the end of a through ball. The Nigerian came off worse following the collision after the Brazilian cleaned him out after being deemed to have got to the ball first.
Ederson also saved from Ricardo Pereira before Sergio Aguero had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out without drama after the Argentine was clearly offside when De Bruyne put him through while Mahrez sent a free kick wide to sum up City’s luck in front of goal.
Harvey Barnes replaced Iheanacho after the break and began to make a difference for the home side, trying to find Vardy as soon as he came on.
De Bruyne’s shot was brilliantly saved by Schmeichel with Aguero lurking for the rebound.
Aymeric Laporte was still coming back to full fitness and the new challenge of Barnes running at him meant he was replaced by Otamendi before the hour mark.
VAR controversy after Dennis Praet handball penalty given
But controversy reigned after Dennis Praet appeared to handle the ball from Ilkay Gundogan’s shot in the Leicester City area and VAR came into play, awarding the penalty to derision from the home fans.
Aguero stepped up and saw his poor spot kick, smashed with power centrally and too close to Schmeichel who saved with his knees after 63 minutes for his fourth Premier League penalty save.
After missing five out of seven Premier League spot kicks this term it was almost no surprise that Aguero would miss the latest one.
Jamie Vardy volleyed wide and Harvey Barnes hesitated allowing Otamendi to get back back as Leicester threatened following the spot kick.
Gabriel Jesus was introduced as a late substitute for Aguero with 15 minutes to go and five minutes later the Brazilian put himself on the scoresheet after being picked out on the edge of the area by Riyad Mahrez following an unchallenged run through the Leicester defence.
VAR took a look for a possible offside before confirming the goal stood – Jesus’ 18th of the season and his fourth goal against Leicester in five appearances against them.
City managed to see out the game having been given a stern test by the Foxes.
GOALS – Leicester City 0, Manchester City 1
Leicester City 0, Man City 1: 80. Riyad Mahrez, who had been booed all day by Leicester fans, ran upfield unchallenged from halfway before picking out Gabriel Jesus who beat Kasper Schmeichel at his near post.
MATCH STATS – Leicester City 0, Manchester City 1
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Soyuncu, Evans, Fuchs (Perez 90+2), Pereira, Maddison, Tielemans, Praet (James 85), Chilwell, Iheanacho (Barnes 46), Vardy
Leicester City Subs not used: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Albrighton
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte (Otamendi 58), Mendy, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Mahrez, Aguero (Jesus 75), Bernardo Silva
Man City Subs not used: Bravo, Stones, David Silva, Cancelo, Foden
Referee: Paul Tierney