Leicester win to stay in EPL’s top four

Leicester have consolidated their their bid for European Champions League qualification places by beating Sheffield United 2-0 in the English Premier League.

The victory kept Leicester in fourth place, a point behind third-placed Chelsea and three above Manchester United, who play Crystal Palace later on Thursday.

With Manchester City having won their appeal against a two-year ban from European competition, a top-four finish is required to qualify for the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa’s EPL future hangs by a thread after Theo Walcott’s 87th-minute header meant Dean Smith’s struggling side had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.

In Leicester, Ayoze Perez drove home the opening goal from just inside the area in the 29th minute after being teed up by Luke Thomas, a left back making his debut for the home side.

Demarai Gray came on as a substitute in the 76th minute and doubled the lead within three minutes, scoring from an angled shot after being picked out by Jamie Vardy at the end of a counterattack.

Sheffield United stayed in eighth place, two points behind sixth-placed Wolverhampton in the battle for Europa League qualification.

Aston Villa looked like they had given themselves a lifeline through Ezri Konsa’s first top-flight goal 18 minutes from time but the centre-back’s desperate overhead kick failed to keep out the Toffees substitute’s late effort to dash their hopes.

As a result Villa, with an inferior goal difference, remain three points from safety which means they realistically have to get something out of next week’s visit of Arsenal if they are to take it to a potential last-day decider at West Ham.

They were left to rue Anwar El Ghazi’s miss-of-the-season contender 10 minutes from time when he ballooned over from close range.

It was a missed opportunity for the visitors in a generally dire game in which the goals were the only shots on target, which spoke volumes about the current malaise in which both clubs currently find themselves.

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