Just as a pulsating last-four tie seemed destined for a penalty shootout, City were cruelly denied a shot at winning a fourth League Cup by a last-gasp effort from Mahmoud Trezeguet in Birmingham.
The Foxes began brightly, with Iheanacho forcing a save from Ørjan Nyland early on, while Kasper Schmeichel also had to be alert to stop Targett after just four minutes.
James Maddison, meanwhile, carved out several chances of his own, but always either found Nyland in his way to make admirable saves, or he would narrowly miss the target.
Villa were ahead after 12 minutes. An inventive flick from Jack Grealish gave Targett room in the area and the former Southampton full-back slammed a half-volley past Schmeichel.
Just after the half-hour mark, on the other hand, City went desperately close to levelling it as Youri Tielemans' powerful drive was tipped onto the bar by a breathtaking stop from Nyland.
After the interval, Leicester remained on the front foot, but Villa were performing well themselves, and the visitors found encouragement from Vardy's introduction on 55 minutes.
Dean Smith's hosts went within inches of restoring their lead, however, as Grealish whipped a cross in for new signing Mbwana Samatta and Anwar El Ghazi, but neither could reach it.
At the other end, the Foxes got back on level terms, both on the night and on aggregate, with Iheanacho waiting at the back post for Harvey Barnes' smart low cross before finishing well.
The latter stages became an end-to-end affair with Maddison blazing over and Jonny Evans nodding a close-range header wide, but substitute Trezeguet would end up winning it for Villa at the end.
It came from a ball forwards from another substitute, Ahmed Elmohamady, which landed perfectly for Trezeguet to run in and convert past Schmeichel, sparking jubilant celebrations for the locals.
It was a deeply disappointing end to the game for the Foxes in Birmingham.
The clock was ticking. Substitutions had been made by both managers which implied penalties were on the agenda. Everyone in Villa Park thought a shootout loomed.
That was until Ahmed Elmohamady's forward ball for Mahmoud Trezeguet. The crowd rose to their feet. One last chance came Villa's way and the Egyptian made no mistake.
Academy graduate Harvey Barnes played a crucial role in Leicester's equaliser at Villa.
Gerry Taggart said live on LCFC Radio: "I'm going to give it (Man of the Match) to Harvey Barnes. He was the difference between the two sides for a 15-minute spell and that led to Leicester's goal."
Where does it leave us?
Manager Brendan Rodgers delivers instructions to his players from the sidelines.
The Foxes miss out on the chance to contest a Carabao Cup Final against either Manchester City or Manchester United and exit the competition at the semi-final stage.
James Maddison looks to create an opening for City.
Chelsea visit King Power Stadium on Saturday in a clash between third and fourth in the Premier League (12:30pm GMT kick-off).
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