Frank Lampard clinches vital win for Manchester City at Leicester
Veteran Frank Lampard delivered again for Manchester City as the champions overcame the absence of any senior strikers to beat Leicester 1-0.
The former England midfielder -- whose loan from New York City expires at the end of the month -- struck the only goal late in the first half of a dull Premier League encounter at the King Power Stadium.
It was the 36-year-old's sixth goal of an increasingly important spell and his 175th in the Premier League, making him joint-fourth highest scorer in the competition's history alongside Thierry Henry.
His vital goal for team far from their free-flowing best after Wednesday's momentous Champions League win at Roma also covered for the team's missing strikers.
An injury to Edin Dzeko in the warm-up highlighted their lack of options up front at present, with top scorer Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic also absent.
Further concern for City came as captain Vincent Kompany lasted just 77 minutes of his comeback from a hamstring injury before appearing to suffer a recurrence.
Teenage striker Jose Angel Pozo was drafted into the starting line-up at the last moment and Pablo Zabaleta, who was being rested and with the squad on a watching brief only, hastily named on the bench.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini at least had playmaker David Silva back starting for the first time since October but the away team never really found their stride against the bottom side.
Their sluggishness was most evident in the opening 30 minutes as Leicester made all the early running.
Jamie Vardy, who troubled Manchester United earlier in the season, looked particularly dangerous and a neat turn in the area put him through on goal.
Eliaquim Mangala denied him a shot and the same much-maligned defender later prevented Vardy from shooting again when clean through as well as blocking from Esteban Cambiasso.
Cambiasso was inches away from giving Leicester the lead after 23 minutes as a well-struck free-kick from 35 yards curled narrowly wide with Joe Hart seemingly beaten.
Cambiasso was lurking again when Andy King delivered a dangerous cross but Kompany's header just took the ball away from him.
City first threatened when Yaya Toure had a powerful drive blocked before Pozo lobbed straight to Ben Hamer after the Foxes' second-choice goalkeeper punched away a Silva free-kick.
The visitors then began to move up a gear and Toure stretched Hamer for the first time with a sweet low shot after good work by Silva.
The breakthrough came six minutes before the interval as Rome hero Samir Nasri wriggled past Wes Morgan and pulled the ball back across the edge of the six-yard line for Lampard.
The pass was not inch-perfect but Lampard made it look so, scooping the ball from behind him to finish with typical clinical precision.
Toure drilled another shot wide as City finished the first half strongly and the inrushing Silva narrowly missed the target early in the second after Nasri got behind the defence.
Leicester half-heartedly appealed for a penalty after Mangala tangled with Vardy but referee Jon Moss saw nothing untoward.
The game started to drift towards a tame conclusion until Leicester rallied, with substitute Leonardo Ulloa having a shot deflected wide.
Nasri might have settled it for the visitors but Hamer saved a good low effort.
Leicester applied some pressure as Moss played five minutes of injury time but Pellegrini's men held on for a hard-fought win that will probably strengthen the case for extending Lampard's loan.