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Foxes sniff top flight glory after win at Palace

FIESTY FOX: Riyad Mahrez (right) enjoys the moment after his match winning goal

LEICESTER CITY came away with all three points after an entertaining game at Selhurst Park on Saturday (March 19). However, the Foxes had to work hard for their victory over a down on its luck Crystal Palace side.

The league leaders had the best of the first half and created far the better chances. Shinji Okazaki burst in behind the defence and looped a dangerous ball to the back post but Riyad Mahrez couldn’t get his head on it.

Just past the 15th minute mark Danny Drinkwater received the ball inside his own half and slipped a wonderful ball into the path of Mahrez, who had got the other side of Palace left back Pape Suoare. He was in one-on-one with Eagles keeper Wayne Hennessey, but the Welsh goalkeeper just got enough on the shot to keep it from going in the back of the net.

It took the hosts nearly 30 minutes to settle into the game and have a good spell of possession. Yohan Cabaye collected the ball inside the host’s half and picked out Yannick Bolasie with a wonderful long ball. The Congolese international managed to pick out Wilfried Zaha but the winger could only toe poke his effort wide.

Leicester struck just as the Eagles were settling into the game. The hosts failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Drinkwater on the edge of the area. The England new boy looked up and picked out Jamie Vardy on the left of the area and he fizzed a low cross through the heart of Palace penalty area. The cross found Mahrez who had time to pick his spot and fire low past Hennessey and into the back of the net.

The hosts almost responded immediately when Bolasie’s shot took a deflection and Kasper Schmiechel tipped the ball onto the post and away for a corner.

The Foxes looked to put a stranglehold on the game and had two good chances either side of half time. The first fell to Marc Albrighton who cut inside the area and had his curling shot palmed away by Hennessey. Minutes into the second half Okazaki managed to turn and shoot inside the area but his shot flew over the bar.

The visitors started the second half strongly and had another good chance to make it 2-0. Robert Huth launched the ball into the Palace penalty area from a throw and Okazaki again got in behind Scott Dann but the Japanese international could only guide his header wide.

The Eagles have only scored 32 goals this campaign whereas Mahrez and Vardy have notched up 35 goals between them.
Like in the first half the hosts eased themselves back into the game. Manager Alan Pardew had made two changes bringing on Martin Kelly and Bakary Sako for Suoare and Emmanuel Adebayor and the two subs starting getting some joy down the left hand side.

Twice Sako produced an inviting cross into the area but no Palace player could get on the end of it. Sako then cut in from the right and fired in a fierce, low shot from 25 yards that Kasper Scmiechel had to get his body behind. Palace were huffing and puffing but still failing to create any clear cut opportunities.

At the other end, Vardy almost sealed the game with a mesmerising run when he got away from four Palace defenders but just as he was about to pull the trigger former City player Damien Delaney slid in with a last ditch tackle.

There was almost a late sting in the tale for the leaders, however, and it would come from that man again – Delaney. Cabaye whipped in a deep corner which Scott Dann managed to win. He headed the ball into the path of Delaney who managed to chest the ball down, swivel and shoot. Unfortunately for the South Londoners the shot cannoned off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick.

Leicester march on to another away victory and are three points closer to their first Premier League title. The picture is a lot more bleak for Palace who have now failed to win in 13 league games and have only taken two points in 2016. They will be looking over their shoulders as they are starting to get drawn into the relegation dogfight.

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