Leicester City’s title hopes were given a potentially fatal blow as Manchester City and Riyad Mahrez produced a masterclass at the Etihad Stadium.
The reigning champions were at their relentless best to inflict a first defeat in 10 on Leicester, who remain 10 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool having played a game more.
The man at the heart of Man City’s superb performance was a player Leicester know well: Mahrez.
The hosts’ organisation and non-stop pressing penned Leicester into their own half for nearly the full 90 minutes, but it was the Algerian winger that dazzled to create a hatful of chances for Man City.
Leicester escaped briefly midway through the first half, Jamie Vardy sprinting clear and scoring with a cute dink to spark thoughts of another huge victory in the blue half of Manchester, akin to the title-winning season.
But the backlash was imminent. Mahrez danced inside and struck, his effort bouncing off Caglar Soyuncu and rolling beyond Kasper Schmeichel, who had his busiest night of the season.
And Man City were 2-1 up before the break, Ilkay Gundogan converting from the spot after Ricardo Pereira uncharacteristically dived in on Raheem Sterling, the England international going to ground easily.
The pressure was not quite so heavy in the second period, but Schmeichel could only stand tall for so long, and Gabriel Jesus wrapped up the points after fine work from the excellent Kevin De Bruyne, Man City moving to within a point of Leicester.