Manchester City held on to beat Leicester City and move back into third place after referee Bobby Madley disallowed Riyad Mahrez’s late penalty for the Foxes.
Mahrez, who had been brought down by Gael Clichy, had the chance to make it 2-2 but slipped as he took his spot-kick and touched the ball with his right foot as well as his left as he sent it into the net.
Madley immediately ruled the goal out for a double-touch and awarded the home side a free-kick, to the relief of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and his players.
The hosts had dominated the first half at the Etihad Stadium, and looked like they were cruising to victory when they went 2-0 up.
There was controversy over the home side’s first goal, which came when David Silva turned in Leroy Sane’s shot, with Leicester claiming unsuccessfully that Raheem Sterling was offside as he tried and failed to help it over the line.
Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 with a penalty that was a far easier decision for Madley, after Yohan Benalouane sent Sane sprawling.
Manchester City appeared to be in complete control but the mood changed when Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki met Marc Albrighton’s cross with a superb acrobatic finish.
Guardiola’s side were far less fluent after the break while Leicester’s increased attacking threat ensured a tense finish that almost brought them a point as a reward.
What is the rule for taking a penalty?
The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward. He must not play the ball again until it has touched another player.
Top four within touching distance for City
Manchester City have now played the same amount of games as Liverpool, who need to win at West Ham on Sunday to go back above them.
Below them, any slip-ups by Arsenal at Stoke on Saturday evening or Manchester United at Tottenham on Sunday will mean Manchester City can make sure of a top-four finish, and Champions League football, by beating West Brom on Tuesday.
Leicester, who ensured top-flight survival with last week’s win over Watford, can finish no higher than eighth.
The only tangible prize for last season’s champions is Craig Shakespeare’s long-term future as their manager, but they did not lack motivation against a side that stumbled over the line to collect three vital points on Saturday.
The atmosphere at the Etihad was undeniably edgy in the second half, even before Mahrez’s slip let the home side off the hook.
Manchester City have lost only one league game on their own territory all season, but have drawn seven times and as Leicester threw players forward in the closing minutes in search of an equaliser, they were in real danger of being pegged back yet again.
Leicester do not get the draw they deserve
Mahrez’s penalty slip was a bizarre denouement in a game where Leicester showed why they have caused Manchester City so many problems recently.
The Foxes thumped Guardiola’s side 4-2 in December and also beat City at the Etihad Stadium last season with a landmark win on their way to the title.
Initially, Shakespeare’s side were subdued and offered little more than the threat of Jamie Vardy’s pace on the break, something they seldom managed to utilise.
But after Okazaki’s spectacular strike brought them back into the game, Leicester sensed the anxiety of their hosts in the second half, pushed forward and put City under serious pressure.
After Albrighton miscued at the near post from a Vardy pull-back, Leicester did not have a clear-cut chance other than Mahrez’s unfortunate spot-kick, but City keeper Willy Caballero and his defence had to deal with countless balls pumped into his area.
As BBC Radio 5 live pundit Chris Waddle said, the visitors probably deserved a draw in the end, but they leave Manchester empty handed this time.
Man of the match – Leroy Sane (Manchester City)
The German winger saw far less of the ball after the break but he was a huge threat down the left when his side were on top, setting up their first goal and winning the penalty that led to their second.
‘We have amazing human beings’ – what the managers said
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola speaking to BBC Sport: “I must congratulate Chelsea on being champions, the last champion was Leicester – the last two or three months with their results they would be in the Champions League positions. That’s why I have a lot of value in this victory.
“I am was so happy with the guys in the club, I feel a lot of support from everybody. The human beings we have are amazing. We have the regret of not fighting for the title until the end – but we will improve.”
Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare, speaking to BBC Sport: “We threw everything at Manchester City in the second half – you saw from the players the spirit they showed.
On his future: “I’ve stated my contract is until the end of the season. There is only two games left. Everyone will find out soon.”
On Leicester’s failed penalty: “I didn’t see it at the time. It’s a freak thing you don’t see often.”
Manchester City have their final home game of the season against West Brom on Tuesday (20:00 BST), before ending their campaign at Watford on Sunday, 21 May (15:00).
Leicester finish with two games at the King Power Stadium – Tottenham are the visitors on Thursday (19:45), then Bournemouth on the final day (15:00).
Importance of Jesus – the stats
- David Silva has scored in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since December 2014.
- Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in seven goals in six Premier League starts [scoring five and assisting two].
- The Brazilian has scored five times from seven shots on target in the Premier League for City.
- Shinji Okazaki ended a run of 23 games in all competitions without scoring for Leicester.
- No player has failed to score more penalties in the Premier League this season than Riyad Mahrez and Christian Benteke (two each).
- Only referee Michael Oliver (15) has awarded more penalties in the Premier League this season than Bobby Madley (12).
- Manchester City have lost just one of their past 15 Premier League games [won eight, drawn six].
- Pep Guardiola named an unchanged line-up in a Premier League game for the first time.
- Leicester have won one of 21 Premier League games this season in which they’ve conceded the first goal [drawn three, lost 17].
Source: BBC Sports