Adam Redfern reporting from the King Power Stadium
David Nugent’s second half strike claimed Leicester City a 1-0 home victory over 10 man Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon, to put them within three points of clinching the Sky Bet Championship title.
QPR were reduced to 10 men in the second-half when Assou-Ekotto was awarded his second yellow card, hampering the visitors chances of a comeback.
QPR arrived with a play-off spot all but confirmed and a win for them would see them close the gap on third placed Derby County to just 2 points.
Nigel Pearson named three changes to his starting XI from the side that drew 1-1 with Reading on Monday. Jamie Vardy, the scorer of the Foxes goal when they defeated QPR 1-0 earlier in the season was ruled out through injury.
Anthony Knockaert had the best of any real chances early on but the Frenchman skewed wide on both occasions.
After half-an-hour the game failed to have anything of any real substance to report, but as half-time approached the game seemingly came to life. First Leicester survived a nervous goalmouth scramble which saw a great save from Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester then responded and could have easily been ahead at the interval when Andy King twice came close.
First his tame close range volley was saved by Rob Green and then a mistake in the QPR defence saw Nedum Onuoha clear off the line after King rounded the advancing former England goalkeeper.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto was lucky to be still on the pitch after a nasty challenge on Riyad Mahrez on 38 minutes, but the referee branded just a yellow.
Modibo Maiga came close on the stroke of half-time but he failed to find the target firing wide of Schmeichel’s left upright after Niko Kranjcar tidily pulled the ball back on the by-line.
The second half started in the same vain as the first, with neither side living up to the credentials which sees them at the Championship summit. Nonetheless, the Foxes looked the brightest going forward.
And on 67 minutes, Nugent fired Leicester into a deserved 1-0 lead for his 19th league goal of the season. The ever reliant Danny Drinkwater playing Nugent in through the channel who shot low passed Green from a narrowing angle.
The goal sparked jubilant scenes within the King Power stadium as the crowd acknowledged how close their Foxes line-up are to lifting the Sky Bet Championship trophy.
Riyad Mahrez continued to test the away defence with several jinking runs, one of which could have led to a penalty but the referee refused to award the spot kick after he was sent tumbling in the area.
Assou-Ekotto who could have been given his marching orders in the first-half picked up his second yellow for a late challenge on Andy King on 76 minutes, to make an already uphill struggle even more difficult for the visitors.
The introduction of Ravel Morrison failed to ignite a late challenge from the Harry Redknapp’s side as Leicester held out for their record 28th win of the season and inevitably the title clincher.
Speaking after the game, Nigel Pearson was delighted with his sides performance:
“Today, we showed a lot of focus and showed a real understanding of playing different systems. I am really pleased we won the game and pleased we showed the discipline we’ve shown throughout the season.
“I think we deserved to win the game and we created more key opportunities. There is three games left and we want to try and win them all, whether we do or not remains to be seen.”
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