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Manchester City survived a scare to beat Leicester City 2-1 at the Eithad Stadium on Saturday in the Premier League, with Riyad Mahrez’s late penalty disallowed in bizarre circumstances.
A controversial goal from David Silva put City ahead in the 29th minute, before Gabriel Jesus stroked home a penalty seven minutes later to double the home side’s lead. However, a brilliant volley from Shinji Okazaki gave the Foxes hope before the break.
They thought they’d equalised from the penalty spot in the 77th minute, when Riyad Mahrez’s kick looped in. However, the effort was disallowed, with the referee noticing the slipping Algerian had kicked the ball onto his own foot.
The three points push City ahead of Liverpool into third place in the Premier League, strengthening their hopes of a top-four finish.
City boss Pep Guardiola left Sergio Aguero on the bench for this one, but his side still flew out of the traps.
Fernandinho went close with a header early on, before Leroy Sane spurned another great chance after fine work from Silva. The opener didn’t feel too far away for the hosts.
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When it did come, it was a controversial one. Sane pulled the ball back into the box and Silva scuffed a shot towards goal. As the ball neared the net, Sterling, narrowly offside, swiped a foot at it, although it was unclear whether he got a touch before it nestled in the corner.
The Leicester players were unhappy with the decision to award the goal. Kartik Krishnaiyer of World Soccer Talk felt it could have gone either way:
Kartik Krishnaiyer @kkfla737
Sterling did try and play the ball…yes. But I am not convinced he was actually off. Looked close to me.
5/13/2017, 12:01:20 PM
City’s tails were up at this point and within seven minutes their lead was doubled. Yohan Benalouane couldn’t cope with Sane inside the area and brought him down for a clear penalty. It was Jesus who stepped up to take it, coolly slotting home from 12 yards.
The Foxes looked downtrodden at this point, as the home side came forward in search of a third goal. However, with one of their only forays forward in the half, they got themselves back in the game.
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Okazaki escaped the attention of Vincent Kompany to volley home Marc Albrighton’s deep cross. Per Sky Sports Statto, it’s been a long time coming for the Japan international:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Shinji Okazaki ends a 23-game run without a goal in all comps since scoring away v Sunderland on Dec 3 #PL https://t.co/xO0W4Mkmyd
5/13/2017, 12:16:21 PM
The goal for the visitors gave them belief heading into half-time.
Leicester nearly drew level immediately after the restart, as Albrighton failed to connect well enough when the ball dropped to him in the area.
As we can see here courtesy of Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws, the Leicester winger was in the wars not long after, as he was caught by Fernandinho’s stray elbow:
Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland
Marc Albrighton. Like a boxer. #lcfc #mcfc https://t.co/HaQRIWcvfR
5/13/2017, 12:56:21 PM
City were struggling to gain any momentum, and with 13 minutes remaining, the Foxes had a brilliant chance to equalise, when Gael Clichy felled Mahrez as he surged into the area.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
The Algerian stepped up to take the penalty kick and although he slipped on impact, his effort ended up in the back of the net. However, the referee disallowed the goal, as Mahrez had kicked the ball onto his own foot, meaning he’d taken two touches and City had an indirect free-kick.
The City Twitter feed hailed the keen eye of the referee:
Manchester City @ManCity
76. WOW! Mahrez’s penalty chalked off after the Leicester man touched the ball twice! Spot from the ref that! 🤓
🔵 2-1 🦊
5/13/2017, 1:05:47 PM
It was a massive blow for Leicester, who had worked so hard to get such a clear opening. And while Jamie Vardy flicked just wide in the final stages, City were able to see out the game, which ran into the 100th minute due to stoppages, with relative comfort.
The win makes City big favourites to finish in the top four, as their rivals for third and fourth spot—Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United—all have testing away games this weekend.