Mahrez goal gives Leicester win vs. Watford

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WATFORD, England (AP) — Leicester moved five points clear at the top of the English Premier League with nine games left after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Watford on Saturday.

Riyad Mahrez took his goal beautifully as he controlled a clearance before slamming the ball past Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes in the 56th minute.

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Leicester moved five points ahead of Tottenham, which drew with fellow title rival Arsenal 2-2.

The first half at Vicarage Road was tense, with neither team willing to commit too many numbers forward. Both created chances without seriously threatening to score.

The game came to life early in the second half when Mahrez scored what proved to be the winner with a sublime finish from just inside the penalty area. Following that, Leicester defended its lead well, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel dealing with Watford's few opportunities.

"It was very tough, we knew coming here would be a tough ask. Riyad has come up with a bit of magic so we are delighted," Schmeichel said. "We are in a good position, but (with) nine games (to go), a lot can happen."