Football: Leicester go top despite missed Mahrez penalty at Villa

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy reacts after Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki (not pictured) scores.
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy reacts after Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki (not pictured) scores. PHOTO: AFP

BIRMINGHAM, England (REUTERS) - Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty but Leicester City still went back to the top of the Premier League table with a 1-1 draw at rejuvenated Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Foxes' fairytale showed no sign of losing any allure as they went ahead at Villa Park with a 28th-minute Shinji Okazaki goal, confirmed with the aid of technology after goalkeeper Mark Bunn had clawed the ball back from beyond the line.

Leicester were awarded a penalty five minutes later for Aly Cissokho's handball but Mahrez, one of the stars of their extraordinary season, struck a tame spot kick straight down the middle that Bunn saved with his feet.

Bottom club Villa, fresh from some respite in their wretched season following the midweek 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, produced a much-improved second half performance sealed by Rudy Gestede's 76th-minute equaliser.

The draw moved Leicester one point clear of Arsenal and Manchester City at the top, with the Londoners having the chance to overhaul them when they visit Stoke City on Sunday.

It could easily have been a three-point lead had Jamie Vardy, who could not stop scoring earlier in the season, not blazed a late shot high, wide and not very handsome.