Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City taught Leicester a lesson in challenging for the Premier League title with a dominant 3-1 win at the Etihad to close to within one point of the second-placed Foxes.
Brendan Rodgers’s men arrived in Manchester on an 11-match unbeaten run, but were outclassed throughout despite taking the lead through Jamie Vardy.
Riyad Mahrez quickly brought City level against his former club before Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty and Gabriel Jesus’s tap in helped City cut the gap on league leaders Liverpool to 11 points.
Liverpool are not in domestic action this weekend due to their participation in the Club World Cup in Qatar, but will be happy to return home with their 10-point lead over Leicester intact ahead of their trip to the King Power on Boxing Day.
On this evidence, City remain Liverpool’s biggest threat to a first league title in 30 years despite the indifferent form of Pep Guardiola’s men so far this season.
The hosts started brightly as the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne struck the post and Kasper Schmeichel made the first of a string of fine saves to deny Jesus after a brilliant jinking run and cut-back from Mahrez.
City had been carved open routinely in losing their last home game to Manchester United, but did not learn their lesson as Vardy posed a constant threat to balls over the top.
The former England international skipped past Nicolas Otamendi and just failed to pick out Harvey Barnes with Leicester’s first foray forward.
However, there was no let off for City second time round when Vardy raced onto Barnes’s excellent through ball before dinking over the advancing Ederson for his 17th Premier League goal of a brilliant season.
Vardy fired another effort just over from a narrow angle, but it was still City who were creating the majority of the chances and they finally got their reward on the half hour mark.
Mahrez was a persistent thorn in the side of his old club, but needed a stroke of luck to get City level as his shot struck Caglar Soyuncu and wrong-footed Schmeichel.
The Danish goalkeeper was at his best moments later to save De Bruyne’s powerful drive.
But the City pressure paid off just before the break when Ricardo Pereira was penalised for tripping Raheem Sterling inside the area despite replays showing there was minimal contact between the two.
Schmeichel’s heroics in a penalty shootout against Everton helped Leicester book their place in the League Cup semi-finals in midweek, but Gundogan’s spot-kick had too much power as the German found the bottom corner.
Only more Schmeichel saves kept Leicester in the contest with a strong right hand to beat away another Mahrez effort the pick of the bunch.
City’s dominance was finally rewarded with the two-goal cushion they craved 21 minutes from time when De Bruyne burst down the right and his low cross was perfectly measured for Jesus to tap home his first goal at the Etihad since January.
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