Manchester City held on to beat Leicester City and move back into third place after referee Robert Madley disallowed Riyad Mahrez’s late penalty for the Foxes.
Mahrez, who had been brought down by Gael Clichy, had the chance to make it 2-2 but slipped as he took his spot-kick and touched the ball with his right foot as well as his left as he sent it into the net.
Madley immediately ruled the goal out for a double-touch and awarded the home side a free-kick, to the relief of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and his players.
The hosts had dominated the first half at the Etihad Stadium, and looked like they were cruising to victory when they went 2-0 up.
There was controversy over the home side’s first goal, which came when David Silva turned in Leroy Sane’s shot, with Leicester claiming unsuccessfully that Raheem Sterling was offside as he tried and failed to help it over the line.
Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 with a penalty that was a far easier decision for Madley, after Yohan Benalouane sent Sane sprawling.
Manchester City appeared to be in complete control but the mood changed when Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki met Marc Albrighton’s cross with a superb acrobatic finish.
Guardiola’s side were far less fluent after the break while Leicester’s increased attacking threat ensured a tense finish that almost brought them a point as a reward.
Top four within touching distance for City
Manchester City have now played the same amount of games as Liverpool, who need to win at West Ham on Sunday to go back above them.
Below them, any slip-ups by Arsenal at Stoke on Saturday evening or Manchester United at Tottenham on Sunday will mean Manchester City can make sure of a top-four finish, and Champions League football, by beating West Brom on Tuesday.
Leicester, who ensured top-flight survival with last week’s win over Watford, can finish no higher than eighth.
The only tangible prize for last season’s champions is Craig Shakespeare’s long-term future as their manager, but they did not lack motivation against a side that stumbled over the line to collect three vital points on Saturday.
The atmosphere at the Etihad was undeniably edgy in the second half, even before Mahrez’s slip let the home side off the hook.
Manchester City have lost only one league game on their own territory all season, but have drawn seven times and as Leicester threw players forward in the closing minutes in search of an equaliser, they were in real danger of being pegged back yet again.
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