Goals at the end of each period lifted Manchester City to a 2-0 win over Leicester City on Wednesday and kept the Premier League champions within five points of leaders Chelsea, who were 1-0 winners at West Ham United.
David Silva broke a scoreless draw in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, and in the closing stages of the match, James Milner, having come on in place of Wilfried Bony, sealed the three points for the hosts.
Leicester, however, were no pushovers at Etihad Stadium and might have won a penalty on either side of the interval.
Bony, who was making his first start for the Citizens following a January move from Swansea City, quite nearly gave his new side the ideal start after just three minutes when his header from Silva's corner-kick was cleared off the line by Esteban Cambiasso.
Stuart Brennan @StuBrennanMEN
City dominating but Leics have 11 behind the ball. Bony's strength could be the key - so far he's had one header off line and great lay-off2015-3-4 20:02:00
From there, the second-place outfit established a pattern of possession and territorial dominance that was only interrupted on the rare occasion by counter-attacks from Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp. Andrej Kramaric, notably, seemed to do well on the defensive side of the ball as the guests were pinned back in their own half through much of the opening frame.
But in the 23rd minute, Leicester had their first claim for a penalty waved away when Schlupp, positioning himself after Matt James' corner, was brought down by Bony.
Phil McNulty @philmcnulty
Man City got away with one there - looked a penalty as Bony pulled back Schlupp but not given.2015-3-4 20:08:50
Foxes rallied after the non-decision, and just two minutes later, City goalkeeper Joe Hart had to rush quickly off his line to prevent Kramaric taking a shot.
With 10 minutes remaining before the break, Leicester goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was called into action to save Bony's shot after the striker had been set up by Silva, who continued to grow in influence as the match progressed.
Leicester City @LCFC
35 - SCHWARZER! Incredible stop from the #lcfc 'keeper denies Bony at point-blank range from Navas' right-wing cross. #MncLei2015-3-4 20:19:42
Tellingly, it was Silva who finally opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when he swept the ball into the back of the net after it came off a defender.
Despite the deficit, it was Leicester who went on the front foot after the restart.
In the 51st minute, they were again denied a spot-kick when Kramaric, who caused one or two problems throughout the encounter, was fouled by Fernando. The referee judged the offence to have taken place outside the 18-yard box, although subsequent replays suggested otherwise.
Kramaric, however, put his resulting free-kick off the wall with Hart beaten at his right-hand post.
Daniel Taylor @DTguardian
Man City have got away with another one here. Fernando foul on Kramaric is in penalty area/on line. Given as foul a yard outside.2015-3-4 20:55:30
With 10 minutes played in the second half, Sergio Aguero drew the next spectacular save out of Schwarzer when his header was stopped well by the Australian, who would also deny Yaya Toure in the 70th.
A minute before that, Leicester came close to equalising when substitute attacker David Nugent missed a sitter after Danny Simpson picked him out with an accurate cross, although the offside flag would have negated the goal, anyway.
With 14 minutes remaining, the guests had another glorious opportunity to pull level when Mahrez cut inside and rang his shot off the upright, and as the match neared its conclusion, City were still searching for a measure of insurance to complete the victory.
Phil McNulty @philmcnulty
Mahrez against the post with Hart unmoved. Very anxious Man City at the back.2015-3-4 21:17:14
Milner, in the 88th minute, provided it when he poked Jesus Navas' cross into the gaping net, finalising a first win for his club after successive defeats and setting the champions up nicely for upcoming contests with Burnley, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace.
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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, via BBC Sport:
It's been a difficult week but from the beginning we tried to dominate. It was very important to score our first goal when we did but we had more chances in the second half and we improved.
Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson, via BBC Sport:
There are always big calls. But three in one night is a bit surprising, isn't it? I don't need to talk about those decisions because the fact you are interested in them means you have seen them and know the rules. I know what I think and I'm keeping it to myself.