Leicester City reclaimed second spot in the Premier League in dramatic fashion as Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to score a stoppage-time goal and seal a 2-1 victory over luckless Everton on Sunday.
A draw would have been a fair result and a boost for under-pressure Everton boss Marco Silva but Nigerian former Manchester City striker Iheanacho showed great composure to turn inside Mason Holgate and fire past Jordan Pickford, extending Leicester’s winning league run to six games.
The goal was initially disallowed for offside but after an agonising VAR wait the decision was overturned, sparking scenes of joy for the hosts and dejection for Everton.
A buoyant Leicester moved back above Manchester City and are three points ahead of the champions with 32 from 14 games and eight behind Liverpool.
Everton remain in trouble in 17th, two points off the relegation zone.
“I have been waiting for this opportunity,” said Iheanacho, who had not scored since September last year.
“I knew one day it would come. It’s not easy not playing but I’m happy that my chance came today.”
Everton began the game confidently and took the lead with a fine team goal in the 23rd minute.
After Richarlison helped to break up play in the middle of the pitch, former Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi passed to Djibril Sidibe and his cross from the right was met by Richarlison whose stooping header flew past Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester thought they had a penalty when referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot after Ben Chilwell went flying but after referring the incident to VAR it was decided Holgate’s swinging leg had made no contact.
There was derision from the home fans, although they were applauding the system later.
Leicester were increasingly dominant in the second half but Everton resisted and were still a threat going forward with Sidibe impressive on the right.
Iheanacho was introduced for Ayoze Perez and it proved to be a masterstroke by manager Brendan Rodgers as Leicester began to lay siege to the Everton goal.
First he provided the cross for Vardy to score for the sixth successive league game, then he broke Everton’s hearts with a lethal finish, even if the celebrations were put on hold.
“It’s really harsh for us — we didn’t deserve it at all. We deserved to take something more in this game,” Silva said.
“We were playing against a confident team. Of all their games at home this might have been the toughest they had.”