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Published: 19:25 | 5/3/16

Mahrez fires Leicester to victory

Ranieri's men now five-points clear in title race

Riyad Mahrez produced a moment of magic ten minutes into the second half to send Leicester City five points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 1-0 win over Watford at Vicarage Road.

In what was a tight and tense encounter, Mahrez was the difference for the Foxes as he fired in a sensational strike to keep his side’s title dreams well and truly alive.

Leicester started with a real purpose and went close after just two minutes.

Christian Fuchs collected on the edge of the box and hit a rasping strike that was parried into the path of Shinji Okazaki. The striker looked ready to tap in the rebound, but he was denied by a superb block by Nathan Ake.

Ake was involved at the other end eight minutes later when he rose highest to meet a free-kick, but his looping header came down on the wrong side of the Leicester crossbar.

Watford were right in the game and causing the league leaders problems but they were almost undone by a brilliant counter attack from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.

Vardy, as he normally does, won the ball back inside the Watford half and released Mahrez.

The winger burst into the box and unselfishly took the keeper out of the game as he squared for Vardy, but the striker could only poke wide under pressure from six yards out.

This let off seemed to spark further confidence into Watford as they looked to get back to winning ways, but they were unable to find a breakthrough as the sides went in level at the break.

Leicester introduced Andy King and Jeffrey Schlupp at the break, but it was that man Mahrez who opened the scoring after 56 minutes.

The Algerian winger picked up a loose ball just inside the area and shaped to shoot but took a touch before curling a stunning strike into the top corner to put his side 1-0 up.

The visitors were flying after the goal and they almost doubled their advantage two minutes later. N’Golo Kante whipped in a good ball that was met by Robert Huth but the big defender’s header was well saved.

Huth was in the thick of things again after 72 minutes when he met a free-kick from Fuchs but this time he headed wide when he really should have done better.

And the Foxes were almost made pay for these missed chances with ten minutes remaining when Troy Deeney controlled a cross and teed up Odion Ighalo but his header lacked power and was easily held by Kasper Schmeichel.

Watford threw everything forward in the dying minutes as they searched for a way back into the game, but they were unable to breach a stubborn Leicester defence as Claudio Ranieri's men held on to seal a deserved 1-0 win.

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