Leicester City kept on course for a remarkable Premier League title triumph as they maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the table after both they and second-placed Tottenham Hotspur won on Sunday.
The Foxes, 5,000/1 title shots in pre-season, were indebted to two second-half goals from England striker Jamie Vardy in securing a hard-fought 2-0 win away to relegation-threatened Sunderland, that appeared to leave Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri with tears in his eyes.
Vardy’s 66th-minute opener saw him become the first Leicester player to score 20 league goals in an English top-flight season since England great Gary Lineker, while his second, a breakaway effort in the fifth-minute of added-on time, put the result beyond doubt.
Ranieri alluded to his tear-stained reaction to Vardy’s second goal by saying: “You make this job for the emotion you feel inside but it is difficult for me to tell what kind of emotion.”
SPURS HAMMER MAN UNITED 3-0
Kick-off in Tottenham’s match at home to Manchester United later Sunday was delayed by 30 minutes after the visitors’ bus got caught in traffic on the way to White Hart Lane.
But the change to their pre-match routine could not explain how United conceded three goals in six second-half minutes as Tottenham completed an ultimately comfortable 3-0 won.
Dele Alli broke the deadlock in the 70th minute and, before United knew what had hit them, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela made it 3-0.
Fifth-placed United’s defeat guaranteed Leicester a top-four finish and with it, at worst, a maiden Champions League qualifying appearance, although a place in the tournament proper and a first English title now both look increasingly likely.
But with both Spurs and Leicester still having five league games to play this season, Mauricio Pochettino’s men remain in contention for what would be north London club Tottenham’s first league title since their celebrated ‘Double’ season of 1960/61, when they also won the FA Cup.
Defeat left United four points adrift of local rivals Manchester City in the race for fourth place.
LIVERPOOL EASE PAST STOKE
Sunday’s other Premier League match saw Liverpool leapfrog Stoke City into eighth place with a 4-1 win that featured two goals from substitute Divock Origi, as the Reds enjoyed their biggest win at Anfield this season.
Alberto Moreno gave Liverpool an early lead but Stoke equalised in the 22nd minute through Bojan Krkic.
Ten minutes later, Liverpool were back in front courtesy of Daniel Sturridge.
Origi, who replaced Sheyi Ojo at half-time, had not been on the pitch for five minute when he scored his second goal in as many games, nodding home James Milner’s cross in front of the Kop.
The Belgian then got a fortuitous second goal, his 65th-minute cross going directly into the net.
Feature image source: Reuters