Leicester City completed a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium, with Riyad Mahrez impressing in the 3-2 victory.
Goals from Jack Grealish and Carles Gil put Villa in full control with 25 minutes to go, but Richie De Laet’s header started a sensational turnaround.
Jamie Vardy levelled before a 89th minute from Nathan Dyer sent Leicester to second in the table and Villa back down the M6 wondering how they lost.
It was Villa who created the first real chance, just eight minutes into the game. Gil released Gabriel Agbonlahor on the left wing, and the striker squared the ball across towards Scott Sinclair at the back post. Sinclair, on the stretch, failed to hit the target from a tight angle.
Leicester reacted straight away, and should have been in front inside ten minutes. Former Villa man Marc Albrighton swung a free-kick in from the left and veteran defender Wes Morgan rose highest, but headed over from six yards. It was a poor miss that left Claudio Ranieri with his head in his hands.
It was the away side who took control after that. They dominated possession and gained momentum, but missed a huge chance to grab the opening goal. Gil did superbly to break from midfield, and played the perfect defence-splitting pass towards Grealish. The 20-year-old swung his right foot at the ball, but his tame effort was easily saved by Kaspar Schmeichel.
It was a great chance for Grealish to open his Villa account, but he made no mistake the second time, just before half-time. A corner rebounded inside the Leicester box before falling to Grealish on the edge of the box, and he expertly curled into the top corner. It was the first goal for his boyhood club, and he celebrated to show his delight.
Just before half-time, Leicester had a great chance to get level. The determined Albrighton’s cross was poked at goal by Shinji Okazaki, but his effort fell wide and the Foxes had to go into the interval a goal behind.
They came out to the second half rejuvenated. Albrighton tested Brad Guzan’s fingertips from eighteen yeards before Jeff Schlupp pulled the ball across the box towards Vardy. The recently capped England international flicked at goal, but it dropped wide to the relief of Tim Sherwood on the sidelines.
The Villa manager was soon celebrating again. Agbonlahor led the counter-attack for the away side, before pulling back to Gil. The Spanish winger wrapped his left foot around the ball and curled into the top corner, deliciously.
Unfortunately for Villa, Leicester pulled one back with 18 minutes to go. Mahrez’s corner was headed at goal by De Laet but Ashley Westwood did his best to clear off the line. His best wasn’t enough though as it was over the line before the clearence, and a goal was given.
They were nearly level four minutes later. Mahrez nicked it off Carlos Sanchez and played in Vardy, but Villa skipper Micah Richards made a vital block to deflect it into the side netting. It stopped a certain goal but Leicester had the momentum.
That momentum resulted in the inevitable equalising goal. The impressive Mahrez spread it wide to Danny Drinkwater, and his cross was turned in from three yards by Vardy to the delight of the home fans.
You could have forgiven Leicester for taking the draw, but they weren’t finished yet. Mahrez’s cross aimed towards new signing Dyer, who beat Guzan to the ball. The former Swansea City man took a giant knock in the collision but the ball spun into the net, giving Leicester a winning goal.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)