English Premiership

Ulloa gives Leicester title heart

Leonardo Ulloa (AFP)
Leonardo Ulloa (AFP)

Leicester - Leicester City rekindled belief that they can win the Premier League title after snatching a late 1-0 victory over Norwich City from an out-of-sorts performance on Saturday.

Leonardo Ulloa popped up with an 89th-minute winner to get Claudio Ranieri's side back to winning ways after their 2-1 defeat at Arsenal and restore their five-point advantage at the top of the table.

It was cruel luck on struggling Norwich, who had more than held their own up until that point and created the better chances, with both Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond going close.

Though Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal can both cut the gap back to two points on Sunday, Leicester continue to set the pace in their bid for the most unlikely of title triumphs.

Norwich acquitted themselves well in the early stages at the King Power Stadium and created the first opening of the game in the eighth minute.

Redmond's burst into Leicester territory led to him threading a pass into the path of Jerome, who shaped to take the ball round the advancing Kasper Schmeichel, but his first touch was a poor one.

The leaders responded with a neat link-up between Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy, which was thwarted by a vital block from Ryan Bennett.

Norwich skipper Russell Martin was then relieved to see an attempted clearance bounce harmlessly wide after Marc Albrighton's cross from the right cannoned off his outstretched leg.

Little had been seen of either Vardy or Riyad Mahrez up to that point, but the Algerian rectified that with a glimpse of his ability to run at defences.

Mahrez weaved his way into an excellent position, but Norwich were relieved that Martin was on hand again to block his goal-bound attempt.

The Canaries were left holding their heads in their hands before the break when Jerome rose unmarked to meet Robbie Brady's right-wing corner with a glancing header, only to see it flash agonisingly wide of the far post.

Right at the end of what had been a promising half for Norwich, they had appeals for a penalty waved away when Jerome's shot from just outside the box appeared to hit Wes Morgan on the elbow as he turned his back.

Two Norwich players picked up yellow cards shortly after the break, as Steven Naismith and Bennett left their mark on Mahrez and Vardy.

Visiting goalkeeper John Ruddy had been given little to do, but he had to be quick in racing out of his box when Mahrez tried to release Vardy.

The Norwich goalkeeper's first meaningful save arrived moments later when Bennett was penalised again for upending Mahrez on the edge of the box and Vardy's low drive from the free-kick required a diving stop.

As Leicester stepped up a gear, Ruddy was called upon again to grasp an Albrighton shot after Timm Klose had been caught out of position.

Ranieri had seen enough at this point, sending on Andy King and Jeff Schlupp to give his side new energy as they pressed for an opening.

When those two substitutions failed to have the desired effect, he sent Ulloa on for debutant Daniel Amartey in a move that saw Albrighton moved to right-back.

With the clocking ticking down, Norwich went close to snatching the lead when the impressive Redmond cut inside from the left and unleashed a long-range shot that flashed past the upright.

But it was Leicester who grabbed the winner with a minute remaining of normal time when Albrighton latched onto a pass from Mahrez and drilled in a low cross that was touched home by Ulloa at the far post.