Football

Premier League | United hands City the title by losing 2-1 to Leicester

Leicester City's James Maddison, left, vies with Manchester United's Brandon Williams during the English Premier League football match at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on May 11.  

Manchester United handed the Premier League title to fierce rival Manchester City on Tuesday by losing 2-1 to Leicester, which ignited its bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

United needed to avoid defeat at Old Trafford to delay City’s title celebrations for at least two more days, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to field a weakened lineup amid a congested fixture schedule proved costly.

Leicester took full advantage and Çağlar Söyüncü’s 66th-minute winner lifted the team above Chelsea into third, eight points above fifth-place West Ham in the race for a top-four finish.

City holds an unassailable 10-point lead over second-place United with three games remaining for each team. It has won the league for the third time in four seasons — and seventh time in total.

Liverpool and West Ham, the teams fighting with Leicester for an automatic Champions League qualifying spot, would have been unhappy to see their rival get an easier ride at Old Trafford owing to Solskjaer’s team selection that saw stars like Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba start on the bench.

Fifth-place West Ham must win its final three games and hope Leicester slips up in its remaining matches, against Chelsea and Tottenham.

Liverpool, in sixth place, might have a better shot as the deposed champion has four games left. If Liverpool wins all of them, Leicester would likely need to pick up four points against Chelsea and Tottenham.

United has come from behind to win on 10 occasions in the league this season but its backups couldn’t make it 11.

Luke Thomas volleyed into the top corner for his first Premier League goal to put Leicester in front, only for Mason Greenwood to show great footwork before finding the bottom corner for the equalizer five minutes later.

Söyüncü’s winner came off a header from Marc Albrighton’s corner, leaving Leicester in sight of a second season in the Champions League — after 2016-17 when it represented England as the Premier League's unlikely titleholder.


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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 1:47:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/premier-league-united-hands-city-the-title-by-losing-2-1-to-leicester/article34538347.ece

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