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Published: 16:54 | 19/3/16

Mahrez fires Leicester eight points clear

Leicester make it four one nil wins in five games

Leicester City moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table after a hard fought 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

A first half goal from Riyad Mahrez was enough to seal the win for Claudio Ranieri’s men as they made it four one nil wins in five games to continue their sensational title challenge going.

After a rather tight and tense opening 10 minutes, Leicester clicked into gear and threatened for the first time.

Shinji Okazaki raced to the by-line down the left and whipped in a good ball that was deflected towards Riyad Mahrez by Joe Ledley but he was unable to get his effort on target.

Mahrez was again involved seven minutes later when he really should have opened the scoring.

Danny Drinkwater collected in midfield and played a superb ball into the path of the winger who raced through one on one but he was denied by a fine save from Wayne Hennessy and a clearance from Scott Dann.

However, there was nothing Dann or Hennessy could do when Mahrez opened the scoring after 33 minutes.

Drinkwater found Jamie Vardy inside the area. The striker controlled and turned Scott Dann inside out and drilled in a low cross that was met by Mahrez who swept home from 12 yards to make it 1-0.

Leicester continued to look dangerous after the goal and they almost doubled their advantage three minutes.

Marc Albrighton cut in from the left and hit a rasping strike from just inside the area that was superbly tipped around the post at full stretch by Hennessy.

Palace, who looked toothless going forward, finally responded to going behind and they had their first real chance of the half after 38 minutes.

Yannick Bolaise cut in from the left and hit a powerful strike that was deflected off Wes Morgan, but Kasper Schmeichel reacted well to save as the visitors went in 1-0 up at the break.

The second half started much like the first with Leicester on the attack and they almost made it 2-0 after 48 minutes when Albrighton picked out Okazaki, who turned an whacked an effort inches over the bar.

Palace began to dominate possession after this as they upped the tempo, but it continued to be Leicester who looked the more dangerous on the break and they went close again on the hour mark.

Christian Fuchs launched a long throw that was met by Okazaki but the striker headed over from point-blank range at the near post when he really should have scored.

Palace, buoyed by the missed Leicester chances, upped the tempo again as they continually looked to substitute Bakary Sakho.

And he produced two brilliant crosses in the space of three minutes, but Palace failed to commit the necessary numbers into the box to capitalise.

Leicester, to their credit, defended superbly and never really looked like conceding and they almost wrapped up the three points with three minutes remaining.

A long ball forward was controlled by Vardy broke who clear and raced into the box but he was denied by a brilliant last-gasp block from Damien Delaney.

This block almost proved even more important in injury time when Delaney rattled the crossbar.

From a corner, Scott Dann headed into the path of the Irish who controlled on his chest and hit a rasping volley that whacked the Leicester bar and went over as the league leaders held to seal a deserved 1-0 win.

By Nick Royle

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