Claude Puel made three changes to the side that drew with Stoke City last time out, but the Frenchman was forced into an early substitution after Daniel Amartey picked up an injury with 20 minutes on the clock.
That meant Puel had to change his formation, too, and despite a bright opening period in which Mahrez was denied by Asmir Begović, the Cherries had goalscoring opportunities of their own.
In the space of just two minutes, Junior Stanislas flicked an effort off target, before Josh King saw Kasper Schmeichel hold onto a tame effort from inside the area.
However, when Marc Albrighton – operating at right wing back – brought down King in the area shortly after, the Bournemouth frontman took his chance, sending Schmeichel the wrong way from the spot.
City responded well after the interval and on the hour mark, only an excellent block from Steve Cook prevented substitute Ben Chilwell from finding the top corner.
Mahrez then had a powerful strike blocked deep inside the area by Dan Gosling as Eddie Howe’s men stood strong on Filbert Way.
But they could do nothing about City’s final effort on goal. Mahrez curled a beauty of a free kick round Bournemouth’s wall and into the corner from 25 yards with just seconds left to play.
Riyad Mahrez runs over to the dugout after sending his free kick past Asmir Begović.
Bournemouth defended in their numbers in the closing stages in an attempt to grind out the win. A moment of magic was needed to breach their back line – up stepped Riyad Mahrez.
With the ball 25 yards from goal, Mahrez applied power to his free kick, bending a strike into the back of the net before wheeling away in celebration.
Wilfred Ndidi rises to contest an aerial challenge with Josh King.
Despite a switch in stratagem midway through the first half, Ndidi continued to impress and proved to be a dominant force in the heart of midfield throughout the game for his side.
Where do we stand?
The Leicester City goalkeeper shows his delight following Riyad Mahrez's leveller.
Following Everton’s loss to Burnley earlier in the day, City remain eighth in the Premier League table. They are now three points behind Sean Dyche’s men and one point above Watford.
The left back applauds the Blue Army after the game.
The Foxes next face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday 10 March (3pm kick-off) in the Premier League before an Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final tie with Chelsea at King Power Stadium eight days later.
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