A solitary goal from Riyad Mahrez midway through the first-half was enough to win the league leaders the game, but Palace came close to equalising during a late onslaught of pressure that ended with Damien Delaney hitting the crossbar.
Leicester stroll to first-half lead
Palace started on the front foot, with Yannick Bolasie spearheading the attack and having a low driven shot held well by Kasper Schmeichel. The Eagles went close again soon after when Bolasie, this time turning provider, found Wilfried Zaha unmarked at the back post, but the winger failed to get a strong connection on his volley and the ball ended up hitting the side netting.
Leicester grew into the game soon after and Mahrez got past Pape Souare with ease on several occasions. The Algerian forward almost opened the scoring when he burst through on goal, but was denied superbly by Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal. A second chance fell for Leicester’s player-of-the-season soon after when Marc Albrighton’s cross soon after was just inches too high and Mile Jedinak was able to clear.
However, Mahrez wasn’t to be denied at the third time of asking. Some good build up play involving Jamie Vardy was cleared by Palace, but Danny Drinkwater was able to recycle the attack and found Vardy on the left side of the penalty area taking on Scott Dann – who had been dragged wide – and his low cross found Mahrez who tapped the ball home from six yards.
Leicester were very rarely forced out of first gear by a lacklustre Palace side in the first half, and Pardew had to make two changes at half-time: Bakary Sako replaced the ineffective Emmanuel Adebayor, and Martin Kelly came on at left-back for the seemingly injured Souare.
Introduction of Sako inspires Palace, but not enough to clinch a late goal
Palace continued their nervy charisma into the second half and Shinji Okazaki almost took advantage to double his side’s lead when he swivelled in the box and fired just inches over Hennessey’s goal.
The introduction of Sako produced a vast improvement in the final third, and the former Wolves winger provided two wonderful cross, but the lack of a recognised striker in the second-half was clearly evident as none of the Palace players were willing to get in the box.
Alan Pardew’s side were disappointing in the final third throughout the game, but came close to grabbing a draw in the dying seconds when Dann headed a Yohan Cabaye’s set piece across goal, and Delaney’s eventual effort clipped the top of the crossbar and dropped agonizingly behind for a goal kick.
Claudio Ranieri’s team were fully deserving of their victory, but Palace will be disappointed as they failed to seriously test a sometimes seemingly nervy Foxes defence. The result leaves the Eagles 16th in the league and without a win in the competition in 13 outings.