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 the Foxes squad watched at former non-league forward Vardy’s house.
It took Vardy, returning from a two-game ban, just five minutes to open the 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 draw level with fellow England striker Harry Kane on 25 goals in the race to be crowned the Premier League’s top scorer this season.
CONGRATULATIONS TO LEICESTER CITY FOOTBALL CLUB!🏆 CHAMPIONS 🏆pic.twitter.com/SqKSKTC8kW— Footy Jokes (@Footy_Jokes02) May 7, 2016
Minutes later, in the only slight disappointment of a joyous day for Leicester fans, Vardy missed out on a hat-trick and the chance to go past Tottenham Hotspur’s Kane when he blasted a second penalty over the crossbar.
Kevin Mirallas pulled a goal back two minutes from time but that did little to ease the growing pressure on Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
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.
This is beautiful. Can’t stop the tears.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 7, 2016
Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, you must be quaking in your Champions League boots.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 7, 2016
Victory saw Sunderland go a point in front of Newcastle, who have played one game more than their north-east rivals and 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 the process.
“Our destiny is in our hands and a win against Everton will secure our Premier League future,” Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce told Sky Sports. “It will be difficult but we have an opportunity to achieve it, let’s hope we can.”
Second-bottom Norwich moved closer to the drop after a 1-0 loss at home to Manchester United, with Juan Mata’s 72nd-minute goal proving decisive at Carrow Road.
United’s victory saw Louis van Gaal’s fifth-placed side close to within a point of local rivals Manchester City, who currently occupy fourth spot and the last qualifying position on offer to English clubs for next season’s Champions League.
“I am indeed a Gunners fan tomorrow. After losing to Real Madrid, it is not easy for Manchester City to revive,” United manager Louis van Gaal told BT Sport.
As well as the City-Arsenal match, Sunday also sees Liverpool — fresh from reaching the Europa League final — at home to Watford, while Tottenham face manager Mauricio Pochettino’s former club Southampton.