Late Jesus winner earns narrow win at Leicester
A late goal from substitute Gabriel Jesus saw City edge past Leicester in a hard-fought contest at the King Power Stadium. In a game low on quality but high on industry, Sergio Aguero missed a penalty in what looked like being a frustrating evening for the reigning champions. But Jesus' goal saw us collect three points and move seven ahead of third-placed Leicester. WHAT HAPPENED Leicester should have been ahead inside eight minutes when Jamie Vardy beat the offside trap and found himself one on one with Ederson, but his effort hit the post when he looked certain to score. Ilkay Gundogan forced Kasper Schmeichel into a save with his feet when a better connection would surely have seen is go ahead. Sergio Aguero thought he had given City the lead on the stroke of half-time, producing a superb curling finish into the far corner, but the Leicester centre-backs had stepped out expertly and the offside flag was correctly raised. City were awarded a penalty when Dennis Praet’s hand deflected Gundogan’s shot wide. A VAR check adjudged the Leicester man’s arm to be in an unnatural position, but Aguero’s spot kick was saved by Schmeichel. We have now missed five of our last seven in all competitions, including four in a row in the league. Aguero almost made amends soon after, but his first-time effort from Mahrez’s throughball was saved by Schmeichel’s foot. But City were the better side for much of the second half and deservedly took the lead when substitute Gabriel Jesus struck his 17th goal of the season, finishing coolly into the bottom corner from close range after being put through by Mahrez.
MAN OF THE MATCH: KEVIN DE BRUYNE Not the Belgian’s finest 90 minutes, but even when not at his best he remains the man who dictates City’s play. Not only does he possess superb quality on the ball, he sets the tone with his work-rate off it. There’s so much to admire about Kevin De Bruyne, who remains arguably the Premier League’s most complete footballer. A special mention, too, for Mahrez, who produced numerous moments of class, including a fine assist for the goal. WHAT IT MEANS City have now opened up a seven-point gap on third-placed Leicester, offering us some breathing space as we enter a vital period of matches spanning four competitions. NEXT UP They don’t come much bigger than Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 tie away at Real Madrid. With the Premier League title now out of reach, Europe’s premier competition has taken on added importance, and our first leg at the Bernabeu next week is crucial. A positive result would set things up nicely for the return game three weeks later. And next weekend there’s the small matter of the Carabao Cup final as we take on Villa at Wembley. MATCH DETAILS: Leicester XI: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Soyuncu, Fuchs, Chilwell, Praet (James 85’), Tielemans, Maddison, Iheanacho (Barnes 45’), Vardy City XI: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte (Otamendi 58’), Mendy, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Aguero (Jesus 77’) Goal: Gabriel (80´) Referee: Paul Tierney