Man United beat Leicester, seal Champions League return

Joe Prince-Wright
NBC Sports

Leicester – Manchester United was a tight, tense encounter but a Bruno Fernandes penalty kick and a late Jesse Lingard goal sealed a top four finish for the Red Devils as they qualified for the UEFA Champions League and Leicester ended up finishing in fifth place.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Man United needed a draw from this game but never looked out of control and have now gone 14 Premier League games without defeat and have been the best team in the Premier League since the restart.

With the win they finish in third on 66 points, while Leicester finish fifth on 62 points.

3 things we learned

1. Leicester collapse will hurt: Brendan Rodgers and Jamie Vardy said they weren’t upset by not being in the Champions League but Leicester have collapsed in recent months and that will hurt. Key injuries late in the season hit them hard and although the Foxes will be delighted with fifth place, their will be disappointment in the air.

2. Solskjaer proves doubters wrong: Nobody truly believed Solskjaer was the right man for the Man United job, but maybe he is? He has made good signings, they are better defensively and they are exciting in attack. This rebuild is well on track and in two seasons time, Solskjaer could have United in the title race if all goes well.

3. Fernandes factor key in third place: Since he arrived he’s been the difference, the goals and assists were sublime but he has given United’s entire side more confidence to play and express themselves. Bruno Fernandes has had an Eric Cantona esque impact on Man United.

Man of the Match

Paul Pogba – Dominated central midfield and didn’t allow Leicester to get their passing game going.

Scrappy start at Leicester as Mason Greenwood headed over at one end then Wilfred Ndidi smashed a shot over the top at the other.

Leicester were a threat on the break as Iheanacho launched a counter but scuffed his finish. Man United then had the ball in the back of the net but Fernandes was offside and he was soon limping after a heavy challenge from James Justin. In a tight, tense first half there were few clear cut chances as Youri Tielemans trickled a shot wide.

Right on half time Paul Pogba played in Rashford but he flicked his effort over the bar from a good position, then Martial had a shot deflected just wide and Rashford was denied by Schmeichel as Man United kicked on.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Leicester and Man United went at it and it was end-to-end in a much livelier clash.

Jamie Vardy flicked a header from a free kick against the bar as Leicester were dangerous, but then Martial won a penalty kick.

VAR checked the contact by Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan but the decision stood, with Fernandes slotting home calmly after a stutter step.

Leicester then had chances to equalize as Wes Morgan had an air shot and Demarai Gray had a shot deflected wide but late on Evans was sent off and Lingard wrapped up the win and Champions League qualification for Man United.

Man United beat Leicester, seal Champions League return originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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