Leicester beat Sheffield United to enhance Champions League hopes

Leicester beat Sheffield United to enhance Champions League hopes
Leicester City v Sheffield United – Premier League – King Power Stadium

Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray inched Leicester closer to a Champions League return after a deserved win over Sheffield United.

The pair clinched a 2-0 victory to ensure the Foxes will remain fourth heading into the final two Premier League games.

Leicester are certain not to finish lower than sixth, meaning they have booked a Europa League spot next season at the very least.

It also continued to point to a potential winner-takes-all showdown with fifth-placed Manchester United at the King Power Stadium on the final day.

Jamie Vardy hit the post and Harvey Barnes wasted two glorious second-half chances but the Foxes were worthy winners.

Defeat, though, was a costly blow to Sheffield United’s dreams of a shock European spot.

It left them two points behind sixth-placed Wolves with two games left.

It could have been different had David McGoldrick not ballooned George Baldock’s cross over in the opening two minutes.

After Sunday’s second-half capitulation at Bournemouth Leicester needed an instant response and Perez almost provided it only to head debutant Luke Thomas’ cross over.

It gave them encouragement though and Vardy was next to threaten when his low strike was turned away by Dean Henderson’s outstretched leg.

The Blades’ defending was frantic and Henderson beat Perez’s volley away but Leicester had taken control.

In their best half since the restart the Foxes rediscovered their fluency and they went ahead after 29 minutes.

England Under-19 international Thomas impressed throughout and he found the unmarked Perez for the striker to fire a low effort beyond Henderson from 15 yards.

It ended a 12-game goal drought and settled the Foxes who held off the Blades in the first half with relative ease.

United’s win over Chelsea on Saturday is their only victory against a top-four side this season and boss Chris Wilder’s triple change of John Lundstram, Lys Mousset and John Fleck at the break failed.

Indeed one, Lundstram, presented the Foxes with a fine chance for a second after 51 minutes when they latched onto his misplaced header and Vardy rattled the outside of the post from Youri Tielemans’ pass.

Five minutes later Barnes was thwarted by Henderson as Leicester found more gaps.

The Blades were doing their best to be masters of their downfall and they were lucky to survive again soon after.

The dawdling Oliver Norwood was robbed by Wilfred Ndidi who set Vardy scampering clear, he squared to Barnes but the winger shot too close to Henderson.

United had offered no threat since McGoldrick’s early miss but Kasper Schmeichel needed to be alert after 63 minutes when he tipped the ball wide after Jack O’Connell deflected John Egan’s header goalwards.

It was only a brief rally and the Foxes sealed the win with 11 minutes left.

Gray had been on the pitch for just three minutes after replacing Barnes but struck when Vardy broke clear to find the winger who drilled low into the corner.

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