Leicester party in style, Sunderland eye survival
London, May 8
Jamie Vardy scored twice to lead Leicester City’s on-field party as they marked lifting the Premier League trophy with a 3-1 win at home to Everton on Saturday, while Sunderland climbed out of the relegation zone.
Leicester, 5,000/1 outsiders in pre-season, had already been crowned champions of England for the first time in their 132-year history after second-placed Tottenham Hotspur could only draw with Chelsea on Monday — a match many of Claudio Ranieri’s squad watched at former non-league forward Vardy’s house. It took Vardy, returning from a two-game ban, just five minutes to open Saturday’s scoring at an already ecstatic King Power Stadium before Leicester stalwart Andy King, who played for the Midlands club when they were a third-tier side, made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute.
Vardy scored his second and Leicester’s third from the penalty spot in the 65th minute to register his 24th league goal of the season — one behind fellow England striker Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur. In the only slight disappointment of a joyous day for Leicester fans, Vardy missed out on a hat-trick when he blasted a second penalty over the crossbar. Kevin Mirallas pulled a goal back late on but that did little to ease the growing pressure on Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
Leicester captain Wes Morgan lifted the Premier League trophy in front of a raucous crowd and a delighted Vardy told Sky Sports: “I can’t put it into words. It’s been a long and hard process to get where I am.” The Foxes triumph also gave veteran boss Ranieri the first domestic title of his managerial career. Earlier, Sunderland came from behind to beat Chelsea 3-2 at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats were 2-1 down against last season’s champions, before two goals in three second-half minutes from Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe transformed the match. Sunderland fell behind when Chelsea striker Diego Costa opened the scoring in the 14th minute. But they were level four minutes before the break when Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri struck a 20-yard volley.
However, Chelsea still regained the lead before half-time through Nemanja Matic. Borini though turned in Patrick van Aanholt’s cut-back in the 67th minute and soon Defoe made it 3-2.
Chelsea’s defeat was compounded when skipper John Terry was sent off late on. Victory saw Sunderland go a point in front of Newcastle, who could only manage a goalless draw with already-relegated Aston Villa on Saturday. If Sunderland win at home to Everton on Wednesday, they will stay up and relegate both Newcastle and Norwich City in process.
Dwight Gayle’s two goals gave Crystal Palace a come-from-behind 2-1 win at home to Stoke City that secured the FA Cup finalists Premier League status. Swansea beat West Ham 4-1 to all but end the London club’s hopes of Champions League qualification. They were 3-0 up inside 51 minutes, thanks to goals from Wayne Routledge, Andre Ayew and Ki Seung-Yeung. Stephen Kingsley’s 68th-minute own-goal gave the Hammers hope before Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis scored in stoppage time.
On Sunday, Steven Davis added to Tottenham’s misery in the aftermath of their failed Premier League title challenge as the Southampton midfielder’s double sealed a 2-1 win.
Having taken an early lead through Son Heung-Min, Tottenham were on course to effectively guarantee a second place finish. But a mistake from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris allowed Davis to equalise before half-time and the Northern Ireland international struck again after the break to leave the north Londoners without a win in their last three matches.