No Haaland but De Bruyne fires City to top

Kevin De Bruyne’s superb free-kick put Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after a 1-0 win over Leicester City.

Despite the absence of top scorer Erling Haaland following a fever and a foot injury, Pep Guardiola’s side took Arsenal to the top with Saturday’s lunchtime win.

But the London team will have a chance to get back on top when they host Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

City dominated for long periods at King Power Stadium in Leicester and De Bruyne sealed City’s fourth consecutive away win in Leicester early in the second half with a magnificent 25-yard shot in the upper left corner.

The defeat ended a three-game unbeaten run for the Foxes, who wasted the opportunity to move away from the relegation zone.

The hosts quickly took control, aiming to end their three straight away-goal wins, but found Danny Ward in top form.

The Leicester goalkeeper fended off Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri’s headers, before blocking Bernardo Silva’s ferocious shot.

The Foxes had to wait until 23 minutes for their first attack, with Harvey Barnes calling Ederson into action from an angled position.

De Bruyne then aimed Ward’s palms with a powerful 25-yard attempt on the other side, but Guardiola’s men were unable to convert their dominance in the first half into an opening goal.

Rodri broke in just wide within 40 seconds of the second half before De Bruyne broke the deadlock in the 49th minute, sending a precise free-kick behind Ward.

Youri Tielemans nearly equalized spectacularly four minutes later, with Ederson flipping the 20-yard volley from midfield over the crossbar after gently taking James Maddison’s corner.

Although Patson Daka and former Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho came close to Leicester late, and Ruben Dias and John Stones nearly scored an own goal, the visitors clinched the win.

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