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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Premier League: Leicester City beat Sheffield United 2-0, stay in top 4

The victory kept Leicester in fourth place, a point behind third-place Chelsea and above fifth-place Manchester United on goal difference.

By: AP | Updated: July 17, 2020 9:39:17 am
Leicester vs Sheffield United, EPL, English Premier League, Leicester City, Sheffield United, Aston Villa vs Everton, Premier League 2020 Leicester’s Demarai Gray, right, scores his side’s second goal during Leicester City vs Sheffield United match on Thursday, July 16, 2020. (Michael Regan/Pool via AP)

Leicester consolidated its spot in the Champions League qualification places by beating Sheffield United 2-0 in the Premier League on Thursday thanks to goals by Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray.

The victory kept Leicester in fourth place, a point behind third-place Chelsea and above fifth-place Manchester United on goal difference.

A top-five finish — and therefore at least a place in the Europa League — is almost guaranteed, however, after moving six points clear of sixth-place Wolverhampton and having a much superior goal difference with two games remaining.

“The result gives us the second-highest finish in Leicester’s history,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. “We have two games to go to create some more history.”

With Manchester City having won its appeal against a two-year ban from European competition, a top-four finish is required to qualify for the Champions League rather a finish in the top five.

Leicester finishes the season with a trip to Tottenham before what could prove to be a winner-takes-all home meeting with Man United.

Perez drove home the opening goal from just inside the area in the 29th minute after being teed up by Luke Thomas, a left back making his debut for Leicester.

Gray came on as a substitute in the 76th minute and doubled the lead within three minutes, scoring from an angled shot after being picked out by Jamie Vardy at the end of a counterattack.

Sheffield United stayed in eighth place, two points behind sixth-place Wolverhampton in the battle for Europa League qualification.

“We were way off of it,” Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said. “We have taken some enormous steps forward this season, but the goalkeeper kept us in the game and we never deserved anything form the game — off it from the first minute to the 90th, no excuse from us.”

Villa concedes late at Everton to edge closer to relegation

Aston Villa edged closer to Premier League relegation after conceding late in a 1-1 draw at Everton on Thursday.

Theo Walcott equalized for Everton in the 87th minute, canceling out defender Ezri Konsa’s goal to leave Villa level on 31 points with Bournemouth, three points from safety with two games to play.

West Ham and Watford, both on 34 points, have three games left to play. West Ham’s final game is at home against Villa on July 29.

Villa and Everton nullified each other in a first half without any clear chances. The visitors were more proactive, forcing Everton’s players to concede the ball, but they had to wait until the second half before they could make their superiority count.

Konsa scored in the 72nd minute, finishing off a fine cross from Conor Hourihane.

Villa substitute Anwar El Ghazi should have made it 2-0 minutes later, but the Dutch midfielder somehow missed what would have been a tap-in at the back post after being set up by Jack Grealish.

The near miss finally prompted a response from Everton, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin going close before Walcott equalized in the 87th. Konsa tried clearing after Walcott headed the ball over goalkeeper José Manuel Reina, but the ball had crossed the line.

Each side had had only one shot on target.

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