In-form Nigerian international, Kelechi Iheanacho was on target as Leicester City closed in on a UEFA Champions League return with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
The forward’s late winner his 14th goal in 14 games took the Foxes three wins away from booking a top-four spot.
Timothy Castagne had earlier cancelled out Wilfried Zaha’s opener as the Foxes; who sit third in the English Premier League, EPL, were forced to dig deep. They moved seven points clear of fifth-placed West Ham with five games remaining; while remaining tantalisingly close to Europe’s top table.
Inconsistent Crystal Palace, with no immediate threat of relegation, gave the Foxes a fright but are destined to finish in mid-table. They were immediately on the back foot at the King Power Stadium when Iheanacho’s pinpoint pass found Jamie Vardy, who ran out of room trying to round Vicente Guaita.
The former England striker was also thwarted by Cheikhou Kouyate; firing over inside the first 10 minutes and would have been encouraged by the ease with which he found space.
Yet the Foxes found themselves behind from Crystal Palace’s first attack after 12 minutes.
Christian Benteke left Youri Tielemans in a heap in midfield and Leicester City we re suddenly exposed. Ebere Eze’s inch-perfect pass slipped Zaha in; with the forward beating Kasper Schmeichel for his 10th top-flight goal of the season.
However, a home defeat to Crystal Palace was not in Leicester City’s script; especially as they aim to return to the UEFA Champions League after a four-year absence.
But the early gaps in the Eagles’ defence disappearedas Crystal Palace closed ranks and dished out some thunderous challenges; especially on James Maddison and Iheanacho.
Caglar Soyuncu lashed over but Leicester City were out of sync; missing the spark which has kept them in the top four all season. Maddison’s shot which went for a throw-in summed up their struggles. They reached the break behind but their recovery began after just five minutes of the second half.
Tielemans’ ball found Iheanacho.
The Nigerian held off Kouyate to tee up Castagne, who fired in high past Guaita from 10 yards.