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Match Reports

Report: Crystal Palace 0-1 Leicester City

19 March 2016

A single goal from Riyad Mahrez was enough for Leicester City to move eight points clear at the top of the table and beat Palace at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles fell to their sixth straight home defeat thanks to the Algerian converted Jamie Vardy’s pull-back in the 34th minute, but in a game of few chances Alan Pardew’s men nearly snatched a point at the death but Damien Delaney saw a volley in injury-time clip the crossbar.

The table-toppers enjoyed the better of a quiet first half and nearly went ahead on 18 minutes. An incisive pass by Danny Drinkwater allowed Mahrez to speed behind Pape Souare and go one-on-one with Wayne Hennessey. The Algerian tried to slip a shot between the keeper’s legs but it clipped off the Welshman and Scott Dann was on hand to clear away the ball which was dangerously trickling goalwards.

Palace’s slow start continued and it would take until the 30 minute mark for them to have a sight of goal when a wonderful pass by Yohan Cabaye released Yannick Bolasie down the left who in turn picked out his fellow wide man Wilfried Zaha at the far post, but his touch deserted him and he saw the ball scuff off his studs and go well wide.

But three minutes later the Foxes took the lead as a trio of their key players combined. After Delaney had headed a cross away, Danny Drinkwater swiftly returned it into the path of Vardy, who got past Joel Ward and centred across the box which Mahrez despatched with glee to put Claudio Ranieri’s men ahead.

It could have been worse for Palace as Hennessey was then forced to get down to push away a shot by Marc Albrighton on 39 minutes, and after a tame showing from his side in the opening half Alan Pardew responded by making a double change at half-time, introducing Bakary Sako and Martin Kelly at the interval.

However Leicester’s dominance continued and Shinji Okazaki saw a shot on the turn only miss the target by millimetres a few minutes into the second half before Mahrez again popped up in a dangerous position and shot wide.

As the half wore on the Foxes seemed content to protect what they had so the Eagles had plenty of possession and began to find themselves camped in the Leicester half, but opportunities were hard to come by although Sako did see a blast from the edge of the area saved comfortably by Kasper Schmeichel.

It happened again with seven minutes to go but this time things were more awkward for the Danish shot-stopper who had to fist the ball over his crossbar, and then Yohan Cabaye saw an attempt deflect wide as the Eagles forced a succession of corners.

But the last say went to Leicester when Vardy scampered forward with a couple of minute to go and seemed likely to slot the ball home but a fantastic recovering tackle by Delaney prevented him from doubling the lead, and the Irishman nearly made an even more telling contribution at the other end when he chested down Dann’s knock down from a Cabaye corner before volleying towards goal but the ball flicked off the crossbar and away to safety.

That proved to be the last action of the game as the Foxes celebrated a crucial victory but extended Palace’s winless league run to 13 matches.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare (Kelly 46), Zaha, Cabaye, Jedinak, Ledley (Gayle 78), Bolasie, Adebayor (Sako 46). Subs not used: McCarthy, Mutch, Puncheon, Campbell.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Schlupp 85), Kanté, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Okazaki (Ulloa 76), Vardy (Amartey 90). Subs not used: Schwarzer, Wasilewski, Inler, Gray.

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