Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Man Utd into CL over Leicester

Published:Monday | July 27, 2020 | 12:24 AM
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes (left) scores their opening goal from the penalty spot during their English Premier League match against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, yesterday.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes (left) scores their opening goal from the penalty spot during their English Premier League match against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, yesterday.

LEICESTER, England (AP):

Manchester United will return to the UEFA Champions League at the expense of Leicester after winning 2-0 at the King Power Stadium on the final day of the English Premier League (EPL) season yesterday.

Bruno Fernandes netted from the penalty spot in the 71st minute, after Jonny Evans’ foul on Anthony Martial, after being so integral to United’s revival since joining in January.

And Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel gave the ball away in stoppage time to gift Jesse Lingard a goal.

While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen a remarkable turnaround for United in the second half of the season to finish in third, Leicester collapsed to throw away the chance of what seemed a certain top-four finish.

Having been 14 points behind Leicester in January, United finished four points above the 2016 champions.

Beyond the lack of fans in the stadium, United’s visit to this central England city provided a reminder why the season is ending two months later than planned in late July. While most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted across England, Leicester is still in a local lockdown in an effort to contain infections.

When the pandemic forced the EPL into a 100-day shutdown in March, Leicester were third with an eight-point lead over then fifth-place United.

But Leicester collected only nine points from nine games after the league resumed and were also overtaken by Chelsea.

Rodgers sorely missed injured creative midfielder James Maddison and fullbacks Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. Missing out on the Champions League windfall could now make it harder to hold on to players like Chilwell.

United, though, know they won’t spend a second season out of European football’s elite competition.

The deal that brought midfielder Fernandes to England from Sporting Lisbon was worth up to €80 million, and United could collect more than that from the Champions League next season.

United won’t be relying on their backup route into the competition, with their Europa League campaign resuming next month.

Leicester will have to settle for playing in the Europa League next season after finishing fifth.

Yesterday’s EPL results:Arsenal 3-2 Watford

Burnley 1-2 Brighton

Chelsea 2-0 Wolves

Palace 1-1 Spurs

Everton 1-3 B’mouth

L’ster 0-2 Man Utd

Man City 5-0 Norwich

N’castle 1-3 L’pool

Soton 3-1 Sheff Utd

W’Ham 1-1 Villa

Final EPL standings:

C. 1. Liverpool 99

2. Man City 81

3. Man Utd 66

4. Chelsea 66

5. Leicester 62

6. Tottenham 59

7. Wolves 59

8. Arsenal 56

9. Sheffield 54

10. Burnley 54

11. Southampton 52

12. Everton 49

13. Newcastle 44

14. Crystal Palace 43

15. Brighton 41

16. West Ham 39

17. Aston Villa 35

R. 18. Bournemouth 34

R. 19. Watford 34

R. 20. Norwich 21