BY MATT WOOSNAM
Luka Milivojevic’s first-half thunderbolt earned Crystal Palace a much needed victory over a below par Leicester City.
In a game with precious few opportunities, the Serbian struck a fine effort from distance after a patient build up, six minutes before half-time.
But the Eagles were a tad fortunate to have been level at that point.
Wayne Hennessey missed out with a back injury and his replacement Vicente Guaita – who was making his first Premier League start – almost gifted the visitors the lead.
On 28 minutes the keeper was hesitant with a Martin Kelly backpass and Jamie Vardy was quick to latch onto the ball, nicking it off the Spaniard and rolling into an empty net.
But Vardy’s joy was short lived when referee Michael Oliver adjudged him to have fouled Guaita in the process.
If that scarce moment of entertainment was supposed to spark this game into life then anyone with a semblance of hope on this bitterly cold afternoon would leave disappointed save for Milivojevic’s stunner.
Vardy went fairly close soon after with a clever flick of his head, but his attempt was not powerful enough to truly test Guaita.
Max Meyer was not too far away from doubling the Eagles’ lead when his left-footed low drive fizzed narrowly past Kasper Schmeichel’s post just before half-time.
The second half was almost identical to the first. Both sides gave possession away cheaply and drove forward from the flanks, but ultimately to little effect.
Demarai Gray wasted the Foxes’ first chance of the half before Rachid Ghezzal somehow missed the best opportunity of the game by blazing wide of the goal when well-placed.
Then Guaita came to the rescue with a superb tip onto the post after Iheanacho played in Vardy who shot first time.
Palace would hold on to a valuable three points and record just a second home victory this campaign.