Leicester City boosted their hopes of a top-half finish in the Premier League (PL) as they narrowly defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 in an end-to-end mid-table clash at the King Power stadium – ending the visitors’ seven-match unbeaten run.
Coming into the contest on the back of an entertaining stalemate against PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Europa Conference League, Brendan Rodgers unsurprisingly fielded a heavily-rotated Leicester side, with only four players retaining their place in the starting line-up. This was somewhat reflected in a disjointed opening 20 minutes, as the best opportunity fell to Jean-Philippe Mateta, who jinked his way past Çağlar Söyüncü, before seeing a sharp strike expertly saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
The opening goal was always going to be important considering Palace’s impressive unbeaten record when netting first in PL away fixtures this campaign, and the ‘Eagles’ continued to look the more likely of the two sides to break the deadlock. However, after Joachim Andersen and Wilfried Zaha both wasted good chances for the visitors, it was the ‘Foxes’ who opened the scoring against the run of play, when Ademola Lookman clinically swept the ball into the net after a delightful pass from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.
Buoyed by the opener, Leicester doubled their advantage on the stroke of HT, as the architect of the first goal, Dewsbury-Hall, picked the ball 18 yards out, and bent a superb strike into the top-left corner for his first PL goal of the season. Faced with a daunting two-goal deficit, Palace desperately needed a good start to the second half, and were given a golden opportunity to halve the deficit when Youri Tielemans clumsily brought down Jordan Ayew in the penalty area.
Despite seeing his spot-kick saved by Schmeichel, Zaha kept his composure to head in the rebound, setting up a tantalising final 20 minutes. Given the end-to-end nature of the contest, it was hardly surprising that both sides continued to attack in pursuit of a late, decisive goal. However, the Leicester defensive rearguard held firm to thwart the best efforts of Palace to secure a vital three points, and extend their five-game unbeaten home run in the PL.