LONDON – Newcastle United derailed Leicester City’s bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League with a 4-2 win on Friday (May 7) that all but secured their place in the Premier League.
Defeat left Leicester third, two points in front of Chelsea and five ahead of West Ham, with both London clubs having a game in hand over the Foxes.
This reverse came five years to the day since Leicester received the Premier League trophy, having started the 2015/16 season as 5,000/1 rank outsiders to be crowned English champions.
Newcastle’s win saw them move 12 points clear of the relegation zone, just one shy from safety with three games remaining.
Joe Willock, on loan from Arsenal, fired Newcastle in front in the 22nd minute at the King Power Stadium as he scored in his fourth successive top-flight game for the Magpies.
And the visitors doubled their lead before half-time with a rare goal from Paul Dummett.
Callum Wilson appeared to put the result beyond doubt with two second-half goals for Newcastle.
Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho however, both scored inside the final 10 minutes for Leicester before the Foxes were beaten eight days out from their FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Leicester were forced into a late change shortly before kick-off when Jonny Evans limped out of the warm up and was replaced by Albrighton.
Newcastle made the early running, with Allan Saint-Maxim only prevented from opening the scoring thanks to a superb save by Kasper Schmeichel.
But Newcastle got the goal they deserved when Willock capitalised on a mistake by Caglar Soyuncu to beat Schmeichel from 10 yards.
Dummett made it 2-0 in the 34th minute when he powered in a header from Matt Ritchie’s corner.
Midway through the second half, Newcastle were 3-0 in front when Ritchie’s pass down the left evaded Timothy Castagne and allowed Wilson to round Wilson to round Schmeichel before scoring.
Wilson had his second goal and Newcastle’s fourth 17 minutes from time after the Magpies struck on the counter-attack.
Miguel Almiron’s pass opened up Leicester’s defence, with defender Wesley Fofana not seeing the run of Wilson, whose initial curling shot hit the post before he fired in the rebound from a tight angle.
At 4-0 ahead, Steve Bruce’s men were cruising to victory but Albrighton pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time before Iheanacho gave Leicester hope of an improbable comeback in the 87th minute.
Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka then preserved his side’s two-goal lead with a brilliant stop from point-blank range to deny Ayoze Perez.