Kelechi Iheanacho

City Show Mettle To Record Comeback Win Over Palace

Leicester City recovered from a one-goal deficit to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Monday night to strengthen their position in third place.
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After beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 on Filbert Way just four days prior, manager Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged starting XI as the Foxes contested the second of three Premier League fixtures in the space of nine days.

It took only three minutes for City to carve out their first opportunity of the match. Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho have combined to devastating effect in recent weeks, and after the former latched onto the latter's pass, he had a chance to open the scoring, however after rounding Vicente Guaita, the ball rolled out for a goal-kick.

Just two minutes later, Vardy was in again, only to fire wide from Timothy Castagne's pin-point delivery. The Belgium international also set up the No.9 shortly after, but Vardy couldn't hit the target while under pressure in the Palace box.

However, following a string of early chances for the hosts, a swift counter-attack from the Eagles saw them open the scoring through Wilfred Zaha, who collected Eberichi Eze's through-ball and found the bottom corner despite Kasper Schmeichel getting a glove to the effort.

On 18 minutes, after Jairo Riedewald went into the book for a heavy challenge on Youri Tielemans, the City No.8 stepped up to take the free-kick, and while the precision was there, there wasn't quite enough power on the strike to beat Guaita.

At the other end, on 26 minutes, Çağlar Söyüncü was positioned well to block Christian Benteke's drive from 25 yards out, while the Turkey international hammered a half-volley of his own over eight minutes later.

City, dominant in possession, continued to apply pressure, with a flowing team move eventually leading to Wilfred Ndidi seeing his placed attempt blocked in the box.

Just seconds after a James Maddison strike flew off target, a challenge from Joel Ward on Ndidi inside the box was checked by VAR, although no foul was given and it was Palace who headed into the break with a 1-0 advantage.

After a frustrating first half, the Foxes deservedly got themselves on level terms. Good work from Iheanacho saw the Nigeria international outmuscle his marker before teeing up Castagne, who drove past Guaita for his first goal at King Power Stadium. There was a check by VAR for handball against Iheanacho, however the goal was rightly awarded. 

It took a superb last-ditch tackle from Jonny Evans to prevent Palace from retaking the lead as the Northern Ireland defender slid in to deny Benteke a goalscoring opportunity after Riedewald - one on one with Schmeichel - had squared to the striker. 

On the hour-mark, Söyüncü won the ball just inside the Eagles half, leading to an opportunity for Maddison, but the No.10's curled strike from 25 yards was held by Guaita.

The Palace stopper was on hand four minutes later to parry Vardy's low strike at the near post, and then Schmeichel held onto Benteke's header as both sides traded blows on Filbert Way.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Vardy found the net after Iheanacho was initially denied, however it was chalked off for offside. Immediately after, Rodgers made two chances as Ayoze Pérez and Marc Albrighton came on for Maddison and Luke Thomas with around 20 minutes of normal time remaining.

With Leicester in pursuit of a winner, the lively Vardy went agonisingly close again, this time on 78 minutes, after riding a challenge from Scott Dann before sending a low attempt across the face of goal.

Another neat move followed barely 60 seconds later, with Iheanacho and Albrighton both involved before Tielemans hammered wide of the mark as the game approached the final 10 minutes.

It would take a moment of brilliance for City to find their second goal of the night, and that came from the irresistible Iheanacho, who plucked Evans' long pass out of the air and cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable strike beyond Guaita for his 12th goal in nine appearances in all competitions.

The in-form forward turned provider shortly after, dispossessing former Fox Patrick Van Aanholt before setting up Vardy, who couldn't quite bring the ball under control.

As the fourth official's board went up to signal four minutes of stoppage time, a chance to put the game beyond the visiting outfit fell to Pérez, only for Guaita to deny the Spaniard with his legs after good work from Vardy and Iheanacho.

But second-half strikes from Castagne and Iheanacho were enough for the Foxes, who battled to their 19th victory of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.

Major moment

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho's late stunner sealed victory for Leicester over Crystal Palace.

After falling 1-0 behind after only 12 minutes, City were tasked with showing their spirit to come from behind not for the first time this season.

Timothy Castagne first slammed home from Kelechi Iheanacho's cut-back before the Nigeria star scored a goal of his own in emphatic fashion.

Controlling Jonny Evans' long ball from the half-way line, he then worked the ball onto his left foot before arrowing a stunner into the top corner of the net to seal three points for City.

Who impressed?

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Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans

Jonny Evans made a superb last-ditch challenge to prevent Palace from restoring their advantage.

Gerry Taggart, speaking on LCFC Radio, said: “They were two absolute rifled thunderbolts, but let's not forget that challenge from Jonny Evans. That was a match-saving challenge. Leicester had to grind the result out tonight, and that's all that matters. It's only right that our wee Jonny gets it tonight because of that challenge."

Where do we stand?

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Timothy Castagne
Timothy Castagne

Timothy Castagne restored parity against the Eagles with a well-taken effort at the start of the second half.

The Foxes remain third in the Premier League table after back-to-back top-flight wins, and now sit seven points clear of fifth place with five games to play.

Coming up…

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

The Northern Irishman has seen his side win their last three games in all competitions - including reaching the final of the Emirates FA Cup.

City are next in action on Friday, when they head to St. Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton in the Premier League. Then, they travel to Old Trafford for a clash with Manchester United five days later.

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