Vincent Kompany's stunning long-range strike moved Manchester City to within one win of the title as a 1-0 victory over Leicester saw the champions return to the top of the Premier League on Monday Night Football.
Kompany produced a captain's goal when City needed it most, breaking the stalemate with an unstoppable 30-yard drive into the top corner just as Pep Guardiola's side looked out of ideas.
Kelechi Iheanacho spurned a glorious chance to haunt his former club three minutes from time, but he dragged Leicester's best chance wide as Kompany's sensational 70th-minute effort - City's 100th at home in all competitions this season - settled the contest.
The result - City's 13th consecutive league victory - means they will become the first side in a decade to retain the title if they win at Brighton on the final day of the season.
Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (6), Kompany (8), Laporte (7), Zinchenko (6), Foden (6), Gundogan (6), David Silva (6), Sterling (6), Aguero (6), Bernardo Silva (8).
Subs: Sane (6), Jesus (n/a), Stones (n/a).
Leicester: Schmeichel (8), Pereira (6), Evans (7), Maguire (7), Chilwell (7), Ndidi (6), Choudhury (6), Tielemans (6), Albrighton (6), Maddison (7), Vardy (6).
Subs: Barnes (5), Iheanacho (4), Gray (n/a).
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany
How City managed to stay just ahead
Liverpool's win at Newcastle meant that only three points would do if City were to keep the destiny of the title in their hands. That burden weighed heavy on the champions' shoulders in a first half that would have done their nerves no favours.
A desperate block from Kompany, launching himself in the path of Ricardo Pereira's shot after James Maddison's clever through pass had dissected the hosts' midfield, prevented the Foxes from taking the lead on nine minutes.
City responded as Phil Foden brought Kyle Walker's long ball down on his chest in the area, but his volley was straight at Kasper Schmeichel.
The Leicester goalkeeper then pulled off a stunning reaction save to prevent Sergio Aguero's header from drifting into the goal after cannoning down off the bar on 33 minutes, the Goal Decision System ruling the whole of the ball had not crossed the line.
Ilkay Gundogan sent two volleys wide before the break as City ended the half strongly, but their eagerness to take the lead turned into desperation as the half drew to a close.
- Man City: Phil Foden replaced Leroy Sane in City’s only change from the win at Burnley.
- Leicester: Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side following their emphatic 3-0 win over Arsenal.
Raheem Sterling spurned a great opportunity to calm City nerves seven minutes into the second half, but he mistimed his jump as he looked to convert David Silva's knock back and sent the ball looping over.
As chance after chance went to waste, the anxiety levels inside the Etihad - not helped by the threat of Maddison and Jamie Vardy on the counter - intensified to near unbearable levels.
But, in their hour of need, City's captain produced a moment fit to decide any match - and perhaps the title race - as his rasping drive flew beyond Schmeichel.
Iheanacho should have done better when he fired wide on 87 minutes, but the evening belonged to City's captain fantastic as he steered the club towards the fourth title of his stewardship.
Title race final act live on Sky Sports
Watch Man City and Liverpool live on Sky Sports on final day of title race
- Man City have now scored 100 goals in all competitions at the Etihad this season; extending their record for most home goals by an English top-flight team in a single campaign.
- Man City return to the top of the Premier League; the 32nd lead change this season, with 29 of those involving Liverpool or City.
- Man City have won each of their last 13 Premier League games - it's the fourth run of a team winning 13+ games in a row in the competition's history, with Man City the only side to have done so twice.
- Man City have beaten every team they've faced in the league for the second consecutive season; the only other English top-flight team to achieve this were Preston between 1888-89 and 1889-90.
- Vincent Kompany has scored his 20th goal in all competitions for Man City, with his strike tonight versus Leicester his first from outside the box
- Leicester have won just one of their last seven away games versus Man City in all competitions (W1 D1 L5).
Pep Guardiola: "There are important players in this club, more than a century of history and not a lot in the trophy cabinet, but there are players who helped us to be who we are today. Vincent Kompany is one of them, when he is fit he is an incredible centre-back. Not just for the goal he has been a leader many times."
Brendan Rodgers: "I'm proud of the team, it bodes well for the future, the personality we played with. We showed we've got personality to play with our quality against one of the best team's in Europe. It took an incredible goal to stop us getting something from the game. I'm disappointed because we deserved more."
Man of the Match - Vincent Kompany
In a moment to encapsulate the thrilling drama of this year's title battle, Kompany broke Leicester's dogged resistance with a 30-yard thunderbolt with 20 minutes remaining. Incredibly, it was the Manchester City captain's first shot on target from outside the penalty area since 2013 and the first he had scored from outside the box for City. If this proves to be the Belgian's final season at the club, one cannot think of a more fitting parting gift.
Manchester City can clinch the Premier League title at Brighton on the final day of the season (Sunday, kick-off at 3pm) - live on Sky Sports. Leicester conclude their season at home to Chelsea at the same time.
Title race final day live on Sky Sports
The last act of The Run In will be shown live on Sky Sports on a defining final day of the Premier League season.
Manchester City's trip to Brighton is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 2.30pm, while Liverpool vs Wolves at Anfield is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 2pm on Sunday, May 12. Kick-off for both games is at 3pm.