Leicester City 3:1 Everton
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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