Manchester City supervisor Pep Guardiola praised his gamers for passing “an unimaginable check” as Gabriel Jesus got here off the bench to attain a late winner at Leicester and cement themselves in second spot.
Jamie Vardy had hit the put up for Leicester within the first half, however either side wasted quite a few possibilities earlier than Jesus slotted dwelling with a cool end after a surging run from Riyad Mahrez had opened up the house defence.
The better of these alternatives noticed Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel deny Sergio Aguero from the spot on the hour mark because the Blues’ penalty issues continued.
The defending champions at the moment are seven factors away from the Foxes having received twice since being banned from European soccer for 2 years by Uefa.
“Don’t ask me in regards to the perspective of those guys,” stated Guardiola. “You nonetheless doubt what they’ve performed. These gamers have received seven titles within the final eight [domestic] competitions.
“Today, after lacking the penalty, see the response we had in opposition to an extremely good staff, not only for the place they’re within the desk proper now however the way in which they performed basically this season. It was an unimaginable check for us.”
Guardiola’s facet have now missed 5 of their seven Premier League spot-kicks this season, however Leicester will argue they need to have been given two of their very own earlier than the break.
Nothing was given when Kevin de Bruyne had his arms up within the wall and James Maddison’s free-kick clearly hit them, and much more mystifying was the choice to offer Leicester a nook when Ederson took out Kelechi Iheanacho.
Iheanacho had overwhelmed the Brazilian to Maddison’s pleasant chipped cross and was floored by the goalkeeper’s try and punch the ball to security, however referee Paul Tierney and the video assistant referee each felt Ederson had touched the ball.
The subsequent time VAR received concerned, it was to award the guests a penalty – after Dennis Praet charged down Ilkay Gundogan’s effort together with his arm.
But Schmeichel preserved parity when he saved together with his legs after Aguero went for energy and blasted his spot-kick down the center, leaving the sport within the steadiness.
The Foxes keeper denied Aguero once more quickly after, however he might do nothing to maintain out Jesus’ strike which introduced a jubilant response from the away followers, and the Manchester City gamers joined them in celebration on the ultimate whistle.
It is sort of an irrelevance that the Blues have reduce Liverpool’s lead on the high to 19 factors, however they’ll head for the Bernabeu for his or her Champions League last-16 tie with Real Madrid on a excessive after a tough week.
City heat up for Real check
The energy of Manchester City’s staff choice was a sign Guardiola was trying to construct rhythm relatively than relaxation his gamers for his or her essential conflict with Real.
The solely absentee from his squad who might determine on Wednesday evening was Raheem Sterling, who’s hoping to get better from a hamstring damage in time to function in opposition to the staff he talked about becoming a member of this week.
This was a good warm-up for that tie, and an altogether extra demanding check than the midweek stroll over a meek West Ham facet.
Aymeric Laporte was once more used for round an hour as he builds his health, and confirmed his worth to the facet with fast balls ahead in addition to calm defending beneath stress.
Mahrez, booed by his previous followers earlier than the sport, was once more spectacular and his working with the ball confirmed how essential he might be in opposition to the Spanish giants if Sterling isn’t absolutely match.
Manchester City had been on no account good – their sloppy passing within the first half particularly was worrying.
But the resolve they discovered to carry off a spirited Leicester facet and discover a winner will provide Guardiola a lot encouragement at the beginning of an enormous week, that ends at Wembley subsequent Sunday after they play Aston Villa within the Carabao Cup ultimate.
Leicester nonetheless look Champions League materials
Leicester have now misplaced dwelling and away to the 2 groups above them within the desk this season however they once more confirmed why they occupy such a lofty place, and can really feel they deserved extra from this sport.
The Foxes might have been pressured into an attacking outlook by their lack of obtainable defensive midfielders however boss Brendan Rodgers demonstrated his tactical versatility by switching to a three-man defence and his facet appeared comfy, and harmful, as they carried out his directions.
Conceding so late will harm however at one level Leicester’s followers began singing about how they’re “occurring a European tour” after being known as out by the away followers, and it nonetheless appears like that tour can be of the Champions League selection even after this defeat.
True, Leicester have now received solely two of their seven league video games in 2020 however their efficiency ranges haven’t noticeably dropped and, simply as importantly, they nonetheless maintain a wholesome lead over the groups exterior the highest 4.
If Manchester City’s Uefa ban is upheld then fifth place will see the Foxes return to the highest desk of European soccer in 2020-21, however extra shows like this from Rodgers’ facet ought to see them safely within the Champions League locations regardless.
Man of the match – Gabriel Jesus (Man City)
Schmeichel eclipses dad Peter with save – the stats
- Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s save from Sergio Aguero’s penalty was his fourth Premier League penalty save – another than his father Peter made in his whole Premier League profession.
- Manchester City have stored successive clear sheets within the Premier League for less than the second time this season (additionally in October 2019).
- Manchester City have received six of their final seven league conferences with Leicester City (L1), as many as their earlier 21 such clashes.
- Leicester City have misplaced three of their final 5 dwelling league video games (W1 D1); that they had solely misplaced one in every of their first 14 such matches beneath Brendan Rodgers.
- Rodgers has misplaced all three of his Premier League conferences with Manchester City as Leicester supervisor, as many such defeats as he suffered in eight video games in opposition to the Citizens accountable for Swansea and Liverpool (W3 D2 L3).
- Gabriel Jesus has scored 4 targets in his 5 Premier League appearances in opposition to Leicester City; solely versus Everton (seven) has he scored extra within the competitors.
- Manchester City have failed to attain from every of their final 4 Premier League penalties, with every being missed by a distinct participant (Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, Jesus, Raheem Sterling).
- Manchester City tried 18 pictures on this match, essentially the most Leicester have confronted in a single league sport at King Power Stadium since Manchester United had 19 in December 2017.
‘VAR interpretation wants sorting’ – what they stated
Leicester supervisor Brendan Rodgers, talking to BBC Sport: “We’re clearly very upset to not get one thing from the sport. We had large alternatives. Of course you need to defend properly, too. You’re going to get moved about at instances, however I believed we did very properly.”
On the 2 handball incidents: “Manchester City’s was a penalty. Kasper makes a incredible save, however ours is evident too. Everyone bar Kevin’s arms are down. I imagine this was one of many causes VAR was launched.
“VAR is ok, it is the interpretation of it. That’s what wants finding out.”
Manchester City supervisor Pep Guardiola, talking to BBC Sport: “Leicester are a high facet. It was a very good efficiency. We did not surrender and that is an extremely good signal for us.
“We have missed 4 penalties in a row, however possibly we are going to rating a penalty once we want it to win one thing. The keepers are good too, however the subsequent one we’re going to rating.”
On Champions League opponents Real Madrid: “The preparation after 12 days off was good. We have performed two good video games and it is good to organize for Real Madrid with these good opponents. We are taking part in the kings of the competitors. We will see, we are going to attempt to get pleasure from it and do our sport.”
Leicester journey to backside facet Norwich on Friday (20:00 GMT) within the Premier League.
Manchester City head for the Bernabeu on Wednesday to face Real Madrid within the first leg of their Champions League tie (20:00), then go to Wembley on Sunday to play Aston Villa within the ultimate of the Carabao Cup (16:30).