Leicester missed its first chance to clinch the Premier League title, drawing 1-1 at Manchester United on Sunday to move within two points of the most unlikely championship in English soccer.Second-place Tottenham, which is eight points behind Leicester, must beat Chelsea away on Monday to keep alive the title race.
Leicester fought back after going behind to Anthony Martial’s eighth-minute goal, with captain Wes Morgan heading in a free kick to equalize in the 17th. Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater was sent off in the 86th for a second yellow card.A win would have sealed the title for Leicester, a modest team from central England that narrowly escaped relegation last season and entered bankruptcy protection only seven years ago while in the third tier. Leicester’s remaining games are against Everton at home and Chelsea away.
United’s failure to win kept the team fifth and dented its ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League. But this game was all about Leicester and whether Claudio Ranieri’s team — a 5,000-1 shot with British bookmakers before the season — could achieve the seemingly impossible, a feat that would rank among the biggest underdog stories in sports.
The team known as the Foxes are still heavy favorites — their vocal, flag-waving travelling contingent chanted “We’re going to win the league” over and over after the final whistle — but Spurs still have hope ahead of their match at Stamford Bridge.United supporters applauded Leicester’s players off the field at Old Trafford.
Leicester players had barely got out of their own half by the time they conceded. Antonio Valencia cut inside from the right and sent over a cross that fell at the feet of Martial, who sidefooted powerfully past Kasper Schmeichel at the far post.Ranieri’s team has been confounding the doubters all season and hit back with its first genuine chance of the game.
Morgan was just too strong for Marcos Rojo as he barged his way into the six-yard box to meet Drinkwater’s inswinging free kick with a header past goalkeeper David de Gea, who had little chance of keeping the ball out.”We shall not be moved,” cried the Leicester fans, who were in full voice throughout.
United was lucky to finish the first half with 11 men after the referee missed Marouane Fellaini lashing out at Robert Huth, first with his forearm and then with his elbow. Fellaini could get a retrospective ban, which may rule him out for the rest of the season.
The second half was more even, with Leicester looking more dangerous on the counterattack and from open play. But De Gea wasn’t seriously tested aside from long-range efforts and United came closest to scoring when Chris Smalling glanced a header against the post. Drinkwater, yellow-carded in the first half, was shown the red card for pulling back Memphis Depay as the substitute raced into the area. Drinkwater will miss the home match against Everton.