Goal: (Gray 55′)
Leicester City edged past Cardiff City with a 1-0 victory on an emotional afternoon at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Demarai Gray’s second half strike was the difference between the two sides in the Welsh capital.
Ahead of kick-off, both sets of supporters joined in a minute’s silence in memory of Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who lost his life, along with four others, in a tragic helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium.
Cardiff started the game brightly and mustered an early opportunity. Harry Arter found the feet of Bobby Reid, who was closed down well and denied from firing an effort at goal.
Victor Camarasa also went close to breaking the dead-lock inside the opening five minutes. He found space on the edge of the area before unleashing an effort wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal.
The first real chance for the visitors came through Ricardo Pereira. The full-back escaped a challenge from Joe Bennett and raced through into the Cardiff area, but his pass failed to find a team-mate and the home defence were able to clear.
The Foxes were forced into making a change with the half-hour mark approaching. Harry Maguire twice required treatment before being replaced by Jonny Evans.
While Cardiff’s best chance of the half then came from Camarasa. After Arter was brought down on the edge of the area, the Spaniard stepped up to take the free-kick and rattled the crossbar with a curling effort.
Leicester created two chances of their own before the interval, though. First, Jamie Vardy’s cross eventually fell to the feet of Nampalys Mendy, whose deflected shot nearly beat Etheridge before sailing behind for a corner.
Vardy was again at the centre of attention minutes later. Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge initially denied Pereira before Vardy struck the woodwork from close range. The Leicester players protested for handball from Sol Bamba, but referee Lee Probert waved away their appeals.
Leicester finished the first half on top and started the second period in the same manner, taking the lead 10 minutes after the restart. Ben Chilwell’s cross into the area found an unmarked Gray, who diverted a volley past Etheridge to put the visitors in front.
Gray stripped off his shirt and dedicated his goal to the Thai owner Srivaddhanaprabha – and celebrated with the rest of his team-mates, including Schmeichel.
Neil Warnock’s men looked to respond to the setback as Bamba’s acrobatic effort sailed wide of the target.
Real Betis loanee Camarasa again went close as he drilled a low shot at goal, which deflected off Mendy and allowed the visitors’ defence to clear.
Leicester could have doubled their lead with two minutes remaining. Vardy raced through on goal and found himself one-on-one with Etheridge, who did well to race off his line and deny the striker from close range.
On an emotional day in the Welsh capital, the Leicester players grouped together after the final whistle and acknowledged the travelling supporters who made the journey.
It was a difficult afternoon for everyone associated with Leicester as players and supporters from both clubs paid tribute to Srivaddhanaprabha.
Cardiff will have been disappointed to come away with nothing, but their second half performance was way below par compared to the first. While Warnock will also be displeased in the manner his side conceded the goal.
Bournemouth loanee Arter will now be unavailable for next weekend’s clash against Brighton after receiving his fifth booking of the campaign.