Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace: Zaha goal cancelled out by Castagne and Iheanacho as Leicester edge closer to the Champions League
(GettyImages - Alex Pantling)

Leicester City look on course to qualify for the Champions League thanks to an equaliser from Timothy Castagne after Wilfried Zaha's opener, before a late winner from Kelechi Iheanacho against Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium.

Palace started the game well and got the opener through Zaha who calmly slotted past Kasper Schmeichel. Palace had a great chance to double their lead but Jairo Riedewald opted to square the ball to Christian Benteke who couldn't get there on time.

The Eagles rued their missed chances when Castagne levelled the scoring before Iheanacho sealed all three points with a wonderful near-post finish.

The defeat means that Palace remain in 13th, 11 points clear of the relegation zone, whilst the Foxes look set to participate in Europe's biggest stage, sitting in third place.

  • Story of the Match

Leicester had the first opportunity of the game when Jamie Vardy twice threatened to mark his 350th senior career appearance with a goal but Vicente Guaita denied him.

The Foxes' good start was put to a halt when Youri Tielemans was dispossessed by Benteke before Eberechi Eze played a defence-splitting ball into the path of Zaha who finished smartly to enter double digits (10) in his goal tally for the season.

Embed from Getty Images

Palace refused to give Leicester any time and space in the first half but it only took around 5 minutes after the interval for the Eagles to concede. A misjudged high ball from Cheikhou Kouyate, allowed Iheanacho to get in front and set up the onrushing Castagne who curled his effort into the far corner to grab his first home Foxes goal.

Embed from Getty Images

The big moment of the second half for Palace came shortly after when Riedewald was played through on goal and strangely went to square the ball to Benteke, who couldn't get there on time, before Jonny Evans cleared away from danger.

Embed from Getty Images

The passed up opportunity from Riedewald gave Leicester the confidence to push on for the winner and the Foxes thought they had gone ahead when Vardy slotted home but the flag was raised for offside, much to the relief of the Eagles.

Nigerian frontman, Iheanacho, was causing problems late on and he finally got his deserved goal when his brilliant run was picked out by Evans before the forward turned Scott Dann inside out to fire home at the near post.

Embed from Getty Images

The win has handed Leicester a nice cushion ahead of fifth-placed West Ham United in the race for the top-four and has the Foxes dreaming of a return to the Champions League.

  • Key takeaways

Riedewald's decision may have cost the Eagles

The game was pretty level when Castagne equalised for Leicester and Palace still looked dangerous on the counter-attack as they had proved to be for the opening goal.

The golden chance to regain the lead came when Riedewald was sent through on goal and it looked as if time slowed down when the Dutchman found himself in a one-on-one situation with Schmeichel.

Embed from Getty Images

Everyone thought that Riedewald would surely go for goal, as there was no one else in front of him apart from the Leicester shot-stopper, but he changed his mind and tried to find Benteke who was behind him at the time.

The chance was lost when Evans cleared for the hosts and that moment could have easily put the Eagles in front and it seemed to have lowered their attacking confidence which allowed Leicester to pursue the winner.

Will it be another tame ending to the season for Palace?

Palace are 13th in the table and are 11 points away from the relegation zone, which should be enough to secure a ninth consecutive season in the Premier League.

Eagles' fans will feel that there could have been more from this season after they were seventh following eight games, only three points off the top.

Embed from Getty Images

Inconsistent form and a bad run of injuries seem to have cost the Eagles any hope of a top-half finish for the first time since the 2014/15 season and they have now only picked up six points from their last seven.

Their season looks to be ending tamely once again, just like last season, unless they can push further up the table and pick up some wins to finish in a position that does not make this campaign a failure.

Iheanacho hits top form once again

The Nigerian is absolutely unstoppable right now for Leicester. His red-hot goalscoring form is driving the Foxes into the Champions League.

That statement would be unthinkable a few months ago especially when he missed that penalty in the reverse fixture against Palace at Selhurst Park.

Embed from Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers has got a tune out of him and he seems to be hitting the back of the net more regularly than Vardy at the moment. Leicester are proving everyone wrong this season and their smart investment is why they are nailed on to compete amongst Europe's best.

  • Up Next?

The Eagles play league leaders Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime live on BT Sport 1HD at Selhurst Park whilst the Foxes travel to Southampton on Friday Night Football live on Sky Sports Premier League at 8pm.

VAVEL Logo