RIYAD Mahrez’s sublime free-kick cruelly denied Cherries their first away win in more than a month after the Algerian struck late at King Power Stadium.

Joshua King’s first-half penalty had put Cherries ahead and that was how it stayed until the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time, when Mahrez swept a stunning effort past Asmir Begovic.

It was a tough result to take for the visitors, who had seemingly weathered an avalanche of pressure before Mahrez levelled matters.

Eddie Howe made one change to the side which had battled back to draw 2-2 with Newcastle United, bringing in Adam Smith to replace Ryan Fraser.

Jordon Ibe and Marc Pugh were ruled out by injury and Harry Arter was again not included in the matchday squad, with youngsters Kyle Taylor and Jack Simpson named on bench.

There were three changes for Leicester, Daniel Amartey, Christian Fuchs and Adrien Silva supplanting Danny Simpson, Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray.

Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi escaped early punishment after a mistimed challenge on Dan Gosling, the Cherries midfielder showing referee Lee Probert the damage, to no effect.

The visitors created their first chance in the 10th minute. Gosling nicked the ball away from Mahrez and fed Junior Stanislas on the corner of the box. But the former Burnley man failed to beat goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with a tame near-post effort.

Silva was well off target with a drive from distance before Lewis Cook ill-advisedly hooked the ball into the path of Mahrez in behind. With the goal gaping, the Algerian’s shot was comfortably blocked by the well-positioned Begovic.

Amartey’s afternoon lasted fewer than 20 minutes after he went to ground with no one near him, the full-back replaced by Chilwell. The Foxes also switched to a back three comprising Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan and Fuchs.

Cherries then fashioned three excellent chances in quick succession.

King won the ball on halfway and drove at the heart of the defence, scuffing his shot yards wide when he should at least have worked Schmeichel.

Moments later, Wilson released Charlie Daniels down the left and his pinpoint cross was fired a fraction off target by Stanislas, who was aghast to see the opportunity go begging.

Wide man Stanislas then crossed into the path of King but the Norwegian international’s effort was straight into the grateful gloves of Schmeichel.

Gosling was fortunate to avoid punishment for a stomach-high challenge on Silva before Albrighton’s cross was headed at Begovic by Maguire.

Just after the half hour, Cherries won a penalty. King got his body in between Albrighton and the ball and went to ground after taking a kick to the left leg.

Whistler Probert pointed to the spot and King, after a lengthy delay, sent Schmeichel the wrong way by slotting low into the right corner.

Begovic produced a regulation stop from Mahrez, who had been teed up by Jamie Vardy, while Simon Francis quickly shook off the damage having been accidently stepped on by the Foxes striker.

With half-time looming, Leicester nearly made matters worse for themselves when Albrighton passed back to Schmeichel with Wilson steaming in. Schmeichel’s clearance clipped the ex-Coventry hitman but the hosts escaped.

There was still time for Begovic to smartly gobble up a fizzing cross from Albrighton with Mahrez lurking.

The start to the second half was quiet until Ndidi shoved over Daniels in the box as the left-back charged towards the near post. It appeared a clear penalty but, bizarrely, Probert was unmoved.

Stanislas scooped over the top before Cook alertly headed Chilwell’s thunderbolt over his own bar.

Midway through the second period, Mahrez blazed down the left flank and sat up a cross for centre-half Morgan, who from inside the six-yard box, nodded over.

Leicester were ramping up the pressure but Begovic appeared to have every delivery into the box under his spell, the Bosnian international solid as a rock in the face of the aerial cross.

When the home side did finally carve out a genuine chance – when Iheanacho picked out Vardy in the box – the ball ended up in the stand.

But Leicester were getting closer. Morgan’s header drifted agonisingly across the face of goal from Mahrez’s free-kick, only the slightest of touches needed to level matters.

Maguire then had two bites at it in the box, his second drilled attempt somehow being flicked wide by substitute Kelechi Iheanacho when it seemed easier to score.

Stanislas smashed over and with two minutes remaining the nerves of Cherries supporters were barely eased when Gosling frantically charged down a Mahrez half-volley.

Francis was in the wars after taking an accidental boot to the head and shoulder from Matty James in stoppage time.

And there was one final twist in the tail. After Steve Cook fouled Iheanacho, Mahrez flashed a brilliant free-kick into the left corner from distance.


Cherries (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Francis, S Cook, Ake, Daniels; A Smith, L Cook, Gosling, Stanislas; King (Mousset 90+1); Wilson (Surman, 77).

Unused subs: Simpson, Taylor, Fraser, Defoe, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: Gosling.

Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Amartey (Chilwell, 20), Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs (Diabate, 79); Ndidi, James; Mahrez, Silva (Iheanacho, 59), Albrighton; Vardy.

Unused subs: Dragovic, Iborra, Gray, Hamer (g/k).

Booked: Silva, Schmeichel.

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

Attendance: 31,384.