Aston Villa 1-1 Leicester City: Honors even in the Midlands Derby

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Shinji Okazaki‘s first-half goal lifted Leicester back into first place in the Premier League, though Rudy Gestede helped the Aston Villa to a point in a 1-1 draw at Villa Park on Saturday.

Leicester’s 44 point total is one ahead of City and Arsenal, with the Gunners set to play Stoke on Sunday.

Villa remains last with 12 points and deserved more from a rabid attack and solid performance from goalkeeper Mark Bunn.

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Leicester knocked on the door a few times in the first 15 minutes, with Riyad Mahrez‘s service either a hair-off or his targets misplaying his passes.

Libor Kozak nearly made the most of a Robert Huth error to open Villa’s account. Kaspar Schmeichel dove and extended his arm to slap the 20th minute chance away.

Leicester broke through with a Goal Decision System-aided goal in the 29th minute. Schmeichel’s goal kick sailed over the Villa defense and Jamie Vardy‘s wide shot was stopped by Bunn. Okazaki put the rebound past the line before the Villa keeper rejected it.

Then Villa gave up a PK when Aly Cissokho slid out at Mahrez’s shot in the box and blocked it with his arm. The Algerian saw his attempt stopped by Bunn.

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Leicester worked a clever play late in the 58th minute, but Bunn leapt to poke Danny Drinkwater‘s spinning shot over the goal.

Kozak looked to have drawn a penalty when Huth tossed down the Polish striker in the box, but Roger East declined to make the call.

Villa kept working, with Jordan Ayew nutmegging Huth and cutting the ball back for Leandro Bacuna. Schmeichel was able to make a save on Bacuna’s low strike.

Drinkwater and Vardy sprung a brilliant counterattack, but the former had a hard time with a quickly-dipping cross from the latter.

Then came Gestede. The substitute wasn’t whistled when his missed trap hit his arm, then belted a left-footed shot that deflected past Schmeichel to make it a deserved 1-1.