EPL: Martial Delays Leicester’s Coronation Party



Leicester City yesterday moved to within two points of the English Premier League title after holding Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford – and will clinch it today if Tottenham fails to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Foxes recovered well from a shaky start, during which they went behind after eight minutes when Anthony Martial drilled home a near-post finish from Antonio Valencia’s cross.

Claudio Ranieri’s side demonstrated the strength of purpose that has become their trademark this season when captain Wes Morgan outmuscled United’s defenders to head the equaliser past David de Gea nine minutes later.

Both sides had penalty appeals turned down when United’s Marcos Rojo blocked off Riyad Mahrez and when Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater was sent off late on after receiving a second yellow card for dragging back Memphis Depay, with referee Michael Oliver ruling it was right on the edge of the area.

Leicester’s supporters celebrated long and loud after the final whistle but this was a blow to United’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League as they now stand four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with only three games left.

Leicester City did not quite complete the formalities of the greatest story the Premier League has ever told – but it surely will not be long before they can officially celebrate this spectacular triumph.

Thousands of visiting fans stayed behind well after the final whistle at Old Trafford in a demonstration of sheer elation as this dream journey towards a first top-flight crown reaches its conclusion.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal gave his counterpart Ranieri a warm, almost congratulatory, greeting at the final whistle, while those home fans still inside the stadium rose to applaud Leicester’s players as they made their way to the dressing room.

It was another sign of the wave of goodwill that has accompanied Ranieri and his players on this momentous journey.

The scenery now shifts to Stamford Bridge on Monday night, where the title will be Leicester’s if Spurs do not beat Chelsea.

And even if they do, a victory at home to Everton will seal the deal next Saturday.