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Leicester’s European Adventure ended by Atletico masterclass

Leicester City 1:1 Atletico Madrid (1:2)

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City’s wonderful European Odyssey came to an end at the King Power on Tuesday night when Atletico Madrid’s first half away goal simply gave them too much to do…

Craig Shakespeare made one change from the first leg six days previously, with Morgan returning from his injury lay-off to replace the suspended Huth.
The teams emerged to a cauldron of an atmosphere with a forest of metallic blue, silver and gold flags in the home areas and the away corner contributing their own display of scarves.

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After we heard the Champions League Anthem for a tenth time, the noise increased still further as the game kicked off, with Madrid attacking the Kop end.

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With the game so finely balanced, neither side could afford to throw too many men forward, and the early stages saw City probing forward and trying to send Vardy through, but Atletico’s defence appeared to have the measure of him.
Atletico’s first attacking move came in the 12th minute, but Simpson managed to slide in to block a dangerous looking run from Griezmann.
The visitors’ attacking spell continued with fast and accurate passing and Carrasco’s low cross almost found Koke in the middle.
Saul then fired a shot from the edge of the area well wide.

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Ndidi wasted an opportunity as he ran forward into space but mishit his shot straight at Oblak.
City had a good spell 20 minutes in. They won a corner, but a Benalouane foul meant that it came to nought. But they continued to press forward and a Mahrez through ball sent Vardy into the area on the left. His cross to the near post found Okazaki but he blazed it wide from 6 yards as a challenge came in.
Soon after this, Griezmann brought Mahrez down, but the winger delivered a tame free-kick straight into Oblak’s grasp.
City then broke again, but Mahrez delayed his pass to Vardy and the offside flag halted the move.
Just as in the first leg, an attacking spell for City ended with a goal for Atletico.

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Filipe Luis swung in a cross from the left and Saul timed his run perfectly to send a precise header beyond Schmeichel’s reach and into the net.
It was the goal that City couldn’t afford to concede, and left them needing three goals to win the tie.
Although the crowd roared City on, Atletico were in control now and looking every inch one of the top sides in Europe.
Carrasco curled in a shot that Schmeichel had to be sharp to catch, before Mahrez struck a volley through a crowded defence that didn’t have enough pace to trouble Oblak.
Carrasco then went on a solo run down the right, rode a challenge from Benalouane, and seemed intent on dribbling the ball into the net before Schmeichel managed to halt his progress with a sliding tackle at the right hand post.

Craig Shakespeare was faced with a huge challenge at half time and he made two changes, introducing Ulloa and Chilwell for Okazaki and Benalouane.
This changed City’s shape and immediately made life less comfortable for the Champions League finalists. Both subs looked lively as City launched one attack after another.
There was a scare in the 50th minute, however, when Griezmann raced down the right, and hit a low cross to Carrasco. Albrighton applied just enough contact to prevent him from getting on the end of it without conceding a penalty.
City kept up the frantic pace and when a header from Vardy dropped into some space in the area Chilwell fired a fine volley inches over the bar.
City finally managed to breach Atletico’s defence in the 61st minute. Albrighton swung in a dangerous cross from the right which reached Chilwell at the back post. His fierce shot was blocked, but as he appealed to the ref for handball, the loose ball fell for Vardy who stabbed it home from six yards.
City still needed two goals, but the noise around the stadium was clamorous, Madrid were out of their comfort zone, and the miracle was still on.

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Four minutes later City came so close to a second. A Fuchs long throw from the left saw Morgan win an aerial duel and the ball sat up nicely for Ulloa who blasted a shot on target, but Hernandez somehow managed to block.
As City continued to pile forward Mahrez set up Vardy on the penalty spot but this time it was Savic who managed to get in the way of a goal bound effort.
With Atletico pinned in their own half, Ndidi was the next to have a shot on goal, but he miskicked it wide.
As the game entered the final twenty minutes Albrighton delivered another cross from the right, but Vardy’s smart backheeled effort didn’t catch out Oblak.
Godin then brought Mahrez down on the edge of the area: he took the free kick himself but it flew narrowly over the bar.
City continued to threaten relentlessly with crosses from Albrighton and Chilwell and long throws from Fuchs, but time was running out for them.
With seven minutes left Morgan went down and stayed down, having to be replaced by Amartey. It was a sad sight to see him limping round the perimeter after his first game back from injury and he was given a standing ovation all the way.
Atletico still had the threat of Griezmann on the break but on one occasion Schmeichel came racing way out of goal to thwart him, and then he should have fed Torres but fluffed the chance.
As the game entered time added on City looked exhausted after an incredible second half performance and Atletico had more posession.
Schmeichel came up for a late series of corners, but City couldn’t will the ball into the net and the final whistle signalled the end of City’s awfully big adventure.

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Most of the crowd remained after the final whistle, bristlng with pride, and after Diego Simeone had sought out the City players for a consoling hug, there was a fitting lap of honour.
It had been said that Leicester would embarrass England in the Champions League. As the last English team in the competition, winners of their group, and unbeaten at home, this could not have been further from the truth.

Craig Shakepeare summed up: “The whole club, from the supporters to the players to the owners can be immensely proud. We had them rattled with the effort and commitment we showed. It’s no discredit to lose to a team of that calibre. I’ve just said to the players that they should want more of this and they’ve agreed that that’s what they want. All players want to play at the highest level and the Champions League is the highest level but we have to get back to winning ways in the Premier League now.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan (Amartey 84), Benalouane (Chilwell 45), Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Okazaki (Ulloa 45), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Musa, King, Zieler, Gray.
Atletico: Oblak, Juanfran (Hernández 55), Savic, Godín, Filipe Luis (Correa 74), Ñíguez, Gabi, Giménez, Koke, Carrasco (Torres 69), Griezmann. Subs Not Used: Moyá, Gameiro, Partey, Gaitán.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi. Attendance: 31,548.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber


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Leicester dig deep at West Ham for first away win

West Ham United 2:3 Leicester City

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A flying start, and a grimly determined finish, delivered City’s first away win of the season at West Ham on Saturday afternoon…

Craig Shakespeare made one change for City’s first trip to the London Stadium, with Benalouane in for Morgan, who injured his back against Sevilla.
And they got off to a great start, taking a 5th minute lead. Mahrez cut in from the right a swung in a cross that flew straight into the net, with Hammers keeper Randolph distracted by Okazaki’s attempted header.
Just two minutes later, the away end was celebrating again as City doubled their lead.
From a free-kick, Mahrez fed Albrighton on the edge of the area and his lofted flick found Huth on the six yard line, the German nodding home City’s second.

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West Ham’s afternoon then got worse when Reid pulled up while running for the ball and had to be replaced by Snodgrass.
But the home side began to get into their stride and pulled a goal back in the 21st minute.
Drinkwater fouled Antonio 25 yards out for a West Ham free-kick. Lanzini got it over the wall and just inside the left hand post with an excellent strike that left Schmeichel rooted to the spot.

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As West Ham pressed for an equaliser Antonio set up Ayew for a shot, which failed to hit the target. Then Antonio had a shot deflected into Schmeichel’s arms, before Carroll had a goal ruled out by the linesman’s flag.
Ayew then headed over when well placed, before City struck again in the 39th minute.
A Mahrez corner led to a scramble in the goalmouth, then Vardy seized on the loose ball lashing it into the roof of the net.

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Although Lanzini sent a shot narrowly wide, City took a two goal cushion in at the break.

Early in the second half, Benalouane tried an ambitious free-kick from the halfway line, but didn’t catch Randolph out as he collected it under the bar.
A fine Mahrez ball then sent Vardy in on goal, but he was off balance and sent his shot wide.
The home side began to crank up the pressure again, and Schmeichel got down smartly to tip a Lanzini’s free kick round the post.
West Ham reduced City’s lead in the 63rd minute. A Lanzini corner from the left was nodded back by Carroll at the far post, and Ayew headed home from close in.
It left a long time to defend a single goal lead, but City, now looking tried after their midweek heroics, dug deep to cling on to their precious lead.
As West Ham piled on the pressure, Craig Shakespeare made a double change in the 76th minute – Musa and Slimani replacing Vardy and Okazaki.
A minute later Carroll’s far post header forced a brillaint save from Schmeichel.
Ayew then blasted over from close in, with an equaliser looking imminent. Drinkwater cleared a Kouyate effort off the line as play became frantic.
What looked like a dislocated finger for Benalouane, held up play for a while and seemed to take the impetus away from West Ham. But they still looked certain to level in the 90th minute when Carroll found himself with just Schmeichel to beat from close range.
City’s captain for the day spread himself well and blocked the shot with a fantastic save.
City weathered six minutes of time added on, to claim three points away for the first time in eleven months.

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It was an immense performance from City and Craig Shakespeare commented: “There is no secret. I think hard work, commitment and endeavour, we showed all of them today, along with some good footballers. We scored the goals at the right time today. It gave us a foothold in the game. There is no secret. The hard work is paramount to success and we have to keep doing that.” 

West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Reid (Snodgrass 18), Cresswell (Masuaku 73), Kouyate, Obiang (Fernandes 67), Ayew, Lanzini, Antonio, Carroll. Subs Not Used: Nordtveit, Feghouli, Adrian, Collins.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Chilwell 87), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Musa 76), Vardy (Slimani 76). Subs Not Used: King, Amartey, Zieler, Gray.

Referee: R East. Attendance: 56,979. 

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber


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Leicester end 2016 on a winning note

Leicester City 1:0 West Ham United


The greatest year in Leicester City’s history ended with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against West Ham at the King Power Stadium on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri brought Mahrez, Drinkwater and Huth back into the starting XI (with Chilwell retaining his place) and changed formation, with Mahrez operating freely behind lone striker Slimani.
City went at West Ham right from the kick off, Slimani setting up Mahrez for an acrobatic shot that tested Randolph in the Hammers’ goal.
Two minutes later City threatened again: a well-measured Drinkwater ball sent Albrighton haring down the right and he delivered a cross that Slimani met with a header that rattled the left hand post.
West Ham began to press forward having weathered the early assault. Cresswell had a fierce shot blocked, and then saw his dangerous cross intercepted by Morgan.
Drinkwater went close with a volley in the 19th minute, and then City raised the roof soon after with an opening goal.
Albrighton sent over another fine cross from the right and Slimani’s thumping far post header went back across Randolph and into the net.


It was the goal that City, and Slimani, desperately needed and it gave the home crowd a real lift.
City continued to press forward and Ogbonna went close to scoring an own goal as he blocked an Albrighton cross.
But as half time approached, West Ham gained control of the game and City had some defending to do. An incisive Noble ball almost set up Antonio on the penalty spot before Simpson’s timely intervention. This led to a scramble on the six yard line before Amartey managed to hack the ball clear.
The Hammers then came within inches of an equaliser when a Cresswell cross from the left was met on the half-volley by Antonio, but his effort hit the bar.
It was an end-to-end encounter now and both sides went close from free-kicks on the edge of the area. Huth’s ball-winning challenge on Payet was punished by referee Andrew Taylor. Payet’s curling effort into the bottom right hand corner was tipped away by Schmeichel.


Gray then broke upfield on a lone raid and was fouled by Reid.
Mahrez’s free-kick was heading for the top right hand corner when Randolph got a hand to it at full stretch.
City took the precious lead in with them at the break, but knew that they faced a hard battle in the second half.
Although West Ham had more possession, they were being kept at bay by City, until a close call in the 67th minute.
Cresswell’s well-struck free kick from the right took a deflection of Chilwell, but Schmeichel managed to change direction to pounce on the loose ball.
Claudio Ranieri made his first change with 20 minutes remaining, bringing on Fuchs for Mahrez and pushing Chilwell forward.
Payet went on a run though City’s defence, but his shot went tamely at Schmeichel.


With ten minutes remaining, City were beginning to look a bit laboured and Ranieri injected new life into the performance, bringing on Okazaki and Ulloa for Gray and Slimani. This had the desired effect and the tide turned with City now pressing forward.
Chilwell connected well with a shot from inside the area but Carroll blocked.
With five minutes remaining Cresswell crossed from the left but Carroll’s free-header went a yard wide from close in.
During six minutes of time added on, Simpson blocked Ogbonna’s header, and City had done enough to earn a very welcome three points.

It was a fitting end to 2016, as Claudio Ranieri enthused: “It is very important to get three points to close our fantastic year – it was unbelievable for us. Of course, it is very important for our table, twenty points. Forty is considered the magic number to survive relegation, and we are halfway through.
Our first thirty minutes were fantastic. In the second half we closed all the space very well and tried to score a goal. It’s important now to improve our confidence and be solid and strong.”

Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell; Drinkwater, Amartey; Gray (Okazaki 80), Mahrez (Fuchs 70), Albrighton; Slimani (Ulloa 82).Subs Not Used: Zieler, King, Mendy, Musa.
West Ham: Randolph, Reid, Cresswell, Nordtveit, Kouyate (Fernandes 78), Carroll, Noble (Lanzini 57), Ayew (Feghouli 64), Ogbonna, Payet, Antonio. Subs Not Used: Adrian, Obiang, Fletcher, Quina.

Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 32,060.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
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Leicester make their point at Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur 1:1 Leicester City


City battled to their first away point of the season after going behind to a very soft penalty decision at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon…

Claudio Ranieri made one change to his side with Vardy back in and Slimani left out with a slight groin strain.
Unbeaten Spurs had an early spell of pressure, Alli fired in a shot from the edge of the area following a corner but Schmeichel got down to it well.
The City keeper then made a comfortable save from a long-range Rose effort and watched Eriksen’s free-kick go narrowly wide, before City had their first chance. Okazaki got his head to a Mahrez cross but cleared the bar.
Fuchs then attempted an audacious volley from a deep Mahrez corner but sent his well struck effort just over from 20 yards.
Five minutes before the break Spurs got nearer when Walker’s cut back from the right was side-footed against the crossbar by Alli from 12 yards.
However, City were not to go down the tunnel on level terms. In the 44th minute Janssen, with Huth’s hand on his shoulder, threw himself to the ground, and referee Bobby Madley bought it. Janssen sent his ill-gotten spot-kick down the middle, just evading Schmeichel’s flailing boot.

City emerged for the second half looking purposeful, and were soon back on level terms.
In the 48th minute, a wayward back header from Wanyama sent Vardy haring down the right. He squared for Musa who slid the ball in off Lloris, picking up a knock on his way into the back of the net.
An Alli dive, his third of the game, saw Spurs awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area, but Janssen’s curving effort went inches wide of the right hand post.
The same player then brushed the same post moments later with a low shot on the turn as Tottenham increased the pressure in search of a winner.
But City – with Schlupp, Albrighton and Ulloa introduced to the action – then had a very good spell of their own and Fuchs, seemingly attempting to outdo his first goal last week, attempted another ambitious voley, which went high and wide.
Spurs best chance of a winner came when Wanyama swung a cross in from the right and Vertonghen sent a firm header against the bar.
The final chance fell for substitute Ulloa, who got his head to a Fuchs free-kick but directed his effort wide.

Claudio Ranieri was happy with the first away point of the season: “This was a very big result – we need confidence at this moment – and a fantastic performance against a good team, our rivals last season. I’m very pleased. We started well; we tried to win, they tried to win, a very good match, this is the magic of Premier League football.”

Copenhagen awaits…

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Rose, Vertonghen, Son, Janssen, Wanyama (Winks 87), Dier, Dembele, Alli (Nkoudou 83), Eriksen. Subs Not Used: Vorm, Trippier, Onomah, Davies, Carter-Vickers. 
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Drinkwater, King, Mahrez (Albrighton 72), Musa (Schlupp 68), Okazaki (Ulloa 78), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, Amartey, Gray. 
Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 31.868.



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Leicester City – Champions of Britain!

City’s pre-season friendly win against Celtic, decided on penalties after a 1-1 draw, got them a trophy and a new title…

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19 players got a run out in a keenly contested International Champions Cup fixture, which saw Riyad Mahrez adding to his stunning portfolio of goals just after the break.
Faced with three defenders he made room for himself, cutting inside before curling the ball into the far corner,
But Celtic levelled 13 minutes later when Eoghan O’Connell’s precise low shot from 20 yards found the net via the right hand post.

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A draw in this competition meant a penalty shoot-out after 90 minutes and all ten kicks found the net: with Fuchs, Wasilewski, Drinkwater, Chilwell and Okazaki all converting.

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Into sudden death, Schmeichel saved Forrest’s spot kick, leaving Amartey to step up and seal two International Champions Cup points.

After the game Claudio Ranieri tried to squash speculation about his goalscorer,
“He is our fantasy, we can work hard but he is the one that can make something happen. £100 million? Keep going, keep going… much better that he stay with us.”

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City’s next game is on Saturday 30 July, when they face Paris Saint-Germain at the Stub Hub Center in Los Angeles.

Celtic: Gordon (Fasan 62), Janko, Lustig (Ambrose 46) O’Connell, Roberts (Forrest 62), McGregor (Johansen 62), Brown (c) (Allan 75), Armstrong (Christie 75), Izaguirre, Griffiths (Rogic 75), Dembele (Ciftci 62). Subs Not Used: Fisher, Henderson.
CITY: Zieler (Schmeichel 46), Amartey, Hernandez (Huth 62), Morgan (c) (Wasilewski 62), Chilwell, Mahrez (Fuchs 71), Mendy (Simpson 46), Drinkwater, Albrighton (Schlupp 46), Gray (Musa 46), Ulloa (Okazaki 62).

Attendance: 32,658.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber


ss 2016

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Victorious Leicester Crowned at the King Power

Leicester City 3:1 Everton

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Premier League Champions Leicester City were presented with the trophy on Saturday evening at the King Power Stadium, after a 3-1 victory against Everton.
The club have delighted and amazed their fans, finally winning the league in their 132nd year.
The atmosphere began to build around the ground many hours before kick-off, and an emotionally charged crowd were brilliantly serenaded by opera legend Andrea Bocelli, for whom the heavy rain obligingly held off for a spell.

Claudio Ranieri replaced the suspended Huth and Drinkwater with Wasilewski and King, Albrighton came in for Schlupp and Vardy returned to the side after his two game ban.
It only took City’s leading scorer five minutes to find the net, with Ranieri’s side showing no hint of taking their foot off the accelerator now the title had been won.

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A Mahrez throw from the right found King, who curled a fine cross into the goalmouth and Vardy popped up between Stones and Oviedo to send it past Robles with a deft touch.
The party moved up another gear.
King headed straight at Robles when well placed and then Fuchs was denied his first goal of the season with a timely Lennon block.
In a rare Everton attack Wasilewski got a block on a chance that almost fell for Lukaku.
In increasingly hard rain, Kante fired in a shot that Robles couldn’t hold, but the Everton keeper recovered to deny Okazaki a follow-up chance.
The City fans didn’t have long to wait for a second goal however. In the 33rd minute Mahrez jinked through the Everton defence on the right. Baines got a tackle in but only succeeded in teeing up King. The club’s longest serving player timed his run beautifully and produced his trademark finish from ten yards.

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City were denied another chance when Okazaki sent Mahrez through but he was hauled over by Pennington, who was booked. Mahrez then nodded over the bar in the last action of the half.

Everton had their best spell of the game early in the second half, but Niasse’s lob and Lukaku’s backheel both failed to beat Schmeichel.
Fuchs, still in search of his first goal, sent a 30 yard free-kick over and bar and also had a shot blocked by Robles, while at the other end Schmeichel produced a decent save to deny Lukaku.
Ranieri made his first change in the 62nd minute, bringing Ulloa on for Okazaki, and City made it 3-0 a couple of minutes later.

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As Vardy hared into the penalty area, Pennington clipped his heel for a clear penalty, which the England striker blasted past Robles.
The applause rang out again as Schlupp replaced Albrighton soon after this.
Vardy, in down the left fired in a low shot, but was denied his hat-trick by Robles, who got a leg to it.
In the 72nd minute Gibson took Schlupp out in the area for as clear a penalty as you could ever hope to see. Vardy stepped up again, but this time sent his effort sailing into the Kop, his hat-trick denied again.

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City threatened a fourth, but several headers from Ulloa went narrowly over. Instead it was the Everton fans, sharing the away corner with perhaps hundreds of City interlopers, who had some rare cheer when Mirallas pulled one back with two minutes remaining.
Sheer persistence, and a bit of luck, took him past Kante and Wasilewski before ruining Schmeichel’s clean sheet.
Mahrez was replaced by Gray in injury time, perhaps only to allow the PFA Player of the Year an ovation of his own.
The final whistle heralded City’s 23rd win of the season, and took them to 80 points.
The players left the field and changed back into this season’s kit, having given next season’s a preview for the game.

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Alan Birchenall brought the trophy out wearing an expression that was an absolute picture.
Then Claudio and his players filed out, onto the hastily erected presentation platform.
City fan Steve Worthy handed the trophy over to captain Wes Morgan who insisted that Ranieri had a hand on it when it was lifted into the air, the cue for fireworks, glitter bombs and a thunderous ovation from the 30,000 lucky enough to have been here on this momentous day.
It was the start of a party that would spread across Leicester and go on all night.

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2015-16 was an astonishing one for our beloved club Leicester City. One that no supporter of the club could ever have seen coming.
If the club continues to do things the right way, there is no reason why this can’t just be the beginning.
As Claudio said: “The people are dreaming. Keep dreaming.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan, Fuchs, Kante, King, Mahrez (Gray 90), Albrighton (Schlupp 66), Okazaki (Ulloa 62), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Chilwell, Amartey, Inler.
Everton: Robles, Baines, Stones, Pennington, Oviedo, Lennon, Cleverly (Gibson 62), McCarthy, Barkley (Osman 81), Niasse (Mirallas 62), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Howard, Mirallas, Connolly, Besic, Dowell.

Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 32,140.

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Leicester City clinch the Premier League title

Leicester City completed possibly the most unlikely story in the long history of English football by clinching the Premier League title on Monday night.

The 5,000-1 outsiders won the league title for the first time in their 132-year history when Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to draw with Spurs at Stamford Bridge.


Eden Hazard’s equaliser in west London sparked a wild party in the streets of Leicester that lasted all night, focussed on the Clock Tower  and the Kng Power Stadium. …

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The first team squad watched the Chelsea v Spurs together, assembling at Jamie Vardy’s Melton home. By the end of the evening, he was, indeed, having a party.

player party

Enjoy today City fans everywhere, we have waited a long, long time and been through so much. This is beyond our wildest dreams.


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