Leicester City 1 QPR 0 – 19 April 2014

Leicester City took a huge step towards securing the Championship title this afternoon with a deserved 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, who finished the game with ten men.

David Nugent’s decisive second-half strike was the difference between the two sides at the King Power Stadium, after a brilliantly through ball by Championship Player of the Season nominee Danny Drinkwater.

QPR had chances in both halves, but were reduced to ten men with twelve minutes remaining when Benoit Assou-Ekotto was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Andy King.

The result takes Leicester’s tally to 93 points – seven clear of second-placed Burnley – and Nigel Pearson could see his team crowned champions on Monday night if the Clarets are beaten by Wigan, or if the Foxes win away at Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night.

It was an impressive performance from Leicester City, who could have easily coasted through their remaining games after gaining automatic promotion two weeks ago, and another club record broken after securing their 28th league win of the season.

The Foxes lined up in a 4-5-1 formation, with David Nugent as the loan striker, hoping to neutralise QPR’s midfield threat of Niko Kranjcar and Yossi Benayoun, while Jamie Vardy was forced out of the match-day squad through injury despite making a return against Reading last Monday.

Riyad Mahrez had an early shot deflected for a corner kick, before Anthony Knockaert dragged a shot wide from outside the penalty area.

At the other end, Niko Kranjcar looked threatening for Harry Redknapp’s side, as he saw his shot blocked smartly by Marcin Wasilewski.

Yun Suk-Young forced a routine save from Kasper Schmeichel midway through the first-half, before another effort on goal from Kranjcar saw the Danish international parry safely the ball over the crossbar for a QPR corner.

Kranjcar continued to threaten for the visitors, and saw his close-range effort thwarted by Schmeichel at his near post, before Leicester cleared the ball from defence following a goalmouth scramble.

But Leicester finished the first-half strongly, and should have gone in at the break a goal to the good, but Andy King’s close-range strike was saved by Rob Green.

Assou-Ekotto was cautioned for a heavy challenge on Riyad Mahrez, which caused a short game delay, before Andy King rounded Rob Green in the QPR goal only to see his goal-bound effort cleared off the line superbly by Nedum Onuoha.

The second-half started at a steady pace, with the first real chance falling to QPR striker Modibo Maiga, but his effort was well-off target.

Jeff Schlupp was then forced to retire from the game after seemingly picking up an injury to his leg, and was replaced by Liam Moore, Leicester’s third substitute of the game, meaning that the Foxes would be unable to bring on Chris Wood, Gary Taylor-Fletcher or Kevin Phillips to partner David Nugent in attack.

It seemed as though Leicester and QPR might cancel each other out for the remainder of the game, but the deadlock was broken with twenty minutes remaining when Danny Drinkwater played a clever pass to David Nugent, who sprinted past the QPR backline and coolly slotted the ball into the far corner from a tight angle to give Leicester the lead.

It was an excellent finish from Nugent, his 21st goal of the season, who had worked exceptionally hard in the lone striker role all afternoon.

QPR pressed for an equaliser, but failed to cause Leicester any real problems as Niko Kranjcar saw his free-kick from just outside the Foxes’ penalty area hit the wall and deflect away from danger.

And the task became even more arduous for Harry Redknapp’s side with twelve minutes remaining when they were reduced to ten men after Benoit Assou-Ekotto was dismissed for a second bookable offence for a clumsy challenge on Andy King.

West Ham United-loanee Ravel Morrison was brought on as a substitute with eight minutes to play, but Leicester finished the game strongly with Matty James firing wide after a smart layoff from Andy King, before Rob Green had to be alert to deny Riyad Mahrez with a save at his near post.

The final whistle confirmed Leicester’s 28th win of the season, taking them to 94 points and within touching distance of the Championship trophy with three games remaining.

Man of the Match – David Nugent