(Reuters) - Jamie Vardy netted his 100th Premier League goal as Leicester City notched their first victory since the league resumed, beating Crystal Palace 3-0 on Saturday to keep up their drive for Champions League football next season.
Leicester swarmed all over Palace from the first whistle as defender James Justin hit the crossbar early on, but it took until the fourth minute of the second half for Kelechi Iheanacho to finally put his side ahead with a close-range effort.
Despite the return of striker Christian Benteke, visitors Palace struggled to create much in front of goal, with their best efforts coming from set pieces. Any chances they did manage were easily dealt with by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Vardy cut a frustrated figure as he sought to become the 29th player to score a century in the English top flight, getting the ball caught under his feet and snatching at some decent opportunities as he chased the milestone.
Having slammed the ground in frustration at another missed chance moments earlier, Vardy made no mistake when Harvey Barnes set him up for a tap-in in the 77th minute. The 33-year-old striker looked relieved as he celebrated in an empty King Power Stadium.
Leicester continued to concede corners and free kicks in dangerous positions, but all too often the ball flew harmlessly over the massed ranks in the penalty area on a disappointing afternoon for Palace.
Vardy added a superb solo second in stoppage time to make it 3-0, breaking from the halfway line before calmly slotting the ball past Vicente Guaita.
“I will wait until the end of the season when I can reflect on things, we have a game in three days,” Vardy told the BBC when asked about his century, and he added that the afternoon had been something of an emotional rollercoaster.
“I’m always frustrated if I miss a chance, you want to score as many as possible, but to get the two goals and the three points is all you can ask for,” he said.
The result means that Leicester remain third in the table, eight points behind Manchester City with five games remaining. The Foxes are three points ahead of Manchester United and four ahead of Chelsea, while Crystal Palace are 13th on 42 points.
Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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