Leicester City 1-0 Birmingham City: Ricardo leaves it late to send Foxes through

By Sports Desk March 04, 2020

Ricardo Pereira's late header saw Leicester City secure a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals as they beat Championship side Birmingham City 1-0.

Leicester laboured for much of Wednesday's contest at the King Power Stadium, with Brendan Rodgers' Champions League-chasing team struggling to break down dogged opposition.

James Maddison went close to a spectacular opener in the 68th minute when his long-range effort clipped the top of the crossbar.

The game appeared destined for extra time, but Ricardo ensured an additional 30 minutes would not be required when he met Marc Albrighton's cross with a header that had the power and placement to find the bottom-left corner.

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  • Chelsea boss Tuchel: VAR decisions are horrible against us Chelsea boss Tuchel: VAR decisions are horrible against us

    Thomas Tuchel railed against VAR after Chelsea claimed a crucial win in their pursuit of Champions League football.

    The Blues leapfrogged Leicester City into third place in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory that means they remain in control of their top-four destiny ahead of the final game of the season.

    But they were made to work for their win – not only by the Foxes but also by the officials, according to Tuchel.

    The German was aggrieved at the failure to award a penalty when Timo Werner was tripped by Youri Tielemans in the first half, a decision he felt was in keeping with a recent theme.

    He told Sky Sports: "It's a clear penalty. Honestly, VAR decisions are horrible against us and it's the third time in a row.

    "We had a goal against Arsenal denied with a handball, we have a goal against Leicester in the cup [disallowed], and then today it's a penalty but it's a foul against us.

    "This has to stop, of course. But we were not worried at half-time, we just said let's do it again and force it."

    With the sides facing off just three days on from their FA Cup final meeting, it was perhaps inevitable that tempers would flare.

    And Tuchel was unimpressed with Leicester's contributions to a touchline spat involving both sets of players that kicked off as the match reached its conclusion.

    He said: "It's not so easy to lose in difficult games. We had to swallow it, we showed respect in the cup final. It got a bit heated up but it's like this.

    "I didn't say that, I said it's hard to lose in big matches."

    Chelsea were without Kai Havertz on Wednesday and also lost the influential N'Golo Kante to injury just before half-time.

    Asked about the pair's prognosis, Tuchel replied: "I don't know yet, we will check them tomorrow. I have a good feeling with N'Golo, he said he felt something and didn't want to go into the risk of a muscle injury so I hope for Sunday. With Kai, the same."

    Brendan Rodgers also aired his grievances with the referee after the game, suggesting Wesley Fofana was unfortunate to concede a penalty for a trip on Werner in the second half.

    He said: "We're obviously disappointed with the goals, we conceded a needless corner and then didn't pick them up well enough.

    "And the penalty I think is very, very, very, very harsh, but it's one that Wesley will learn from.

    "He's so good in so many ways but you've just got to be patient in that one, and Luke as well.

    "But they're 19 and 20 years of age the two boys, they've been absolutely amazing, and tonight will be really good learning for them."

    Defeat for the newly crowned FA Cup winners means they are likely reliant on a Liverpool slip-up to secure their place in the Champions League next season.

    But Rodgers insists the disappointment of missing out would be tempered by the fact that his players have achieved so much already this term.

    He added: "It'd be really disappointing but I think our story and your story is different.

    "Our story is the players have been fantastic in terms of their consistency and if we just fall short after 38 games then the team with the eighth-biggest budget fighting against the level we've been fighting at means we've fought really hard and just missed out.

    "However, there are still points to play for, we just need to win our game at the weekend and see where we are."

  • Premier League data dive: Top three fail to win as Brighton lodge comeback and Chelsea close on Champions League Premier League data dive: Top three fail to win as Brighton lodge comeback and Chelsea close on Champions League

    Chelsea edged towards Champions League football for next season, but Leicester City's fate is now out of their hands.

    The Blues gained swift vengeance for their FA Cup final defeat, running out 2-1 winners over Leicester at Stamford Bridge, meaning the Foxes are now reliant on results elsewhere as Liverpool have a game in hand to play.

    Champions Manchester City surrendered a two-goal lead against Brighton and Hove Albion, meanwhile, and Edinson Cavani's stunning goal was not enough for Manchester United. Elsewhere, Leeds United defeated Southampton.

    We take a look at the best facts, courtesy of Opta, from across Tuesday's Premier League games.

    Manchester United 1-1 Fulham: Cavani delights Old Trafford crowd, but Cottagers hit back

    United have now dropped 10 points from winning positions at Old Trafford this season – their highest ever such total at home in a Premier League season – after Joe Bryan cancelled out Cavani's sensational opener.

    Cavani became only the third United player over the age of 33 to reach 10 goals in a single Premier League season, after Teddy Sheringham in 2000-01 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17, with a sublime 36.4-yard effort in the first half.

    The Uruguay forward is the 25th different United player to reach double figures in a Premier League campaign, but it was not enough for the Red Devils as relegated Fulham gained a point from a losing position at Old Trafford for only the second time in their history in the competition, previously doing so in February 2014.

    United have conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season – they last conceded more at Old Trafford in a single league campaign back in 1962-63 (38) – with Bryan's first top-flight goal, in his 43rd such appearance, snatching a share of the spoils.

    Southampton 0-2 Leeds United: Bielsa's charge continues

    There could feasibly still be a European place for Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds, who are just three points behind seventh-placed West Ham heading into the final game of the season after a 2-0 win over Southampton.

    It was Leeds' 10th league win on the road this season, their best effort in a top-flight campaign since 1973-74, when they won 12 on the way to winning the title.

    Southampton are without a clean sheet in their past 10 home league games (15 goals conceded) after keeping shutouts in six of the eight before that.

    Patrick Bamford netted his 16th goal of the season, which is the most by a player from a promoted side since Charlie Austin scored 18 for Queens Park Rangers in 2014-15, with Tyler Roberts' maiden Premier League goal rounding off the success.

    Leeds are only the second team in Premier League history to finish a campaign without a single away draw (W10 L9), after Tottenham in 2018-19.

    Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 Manchester City: Seagulls seal famous comeback

    Brighton picked up their first ever Premier League victory over City, and their first in the league since 1989, as they came from two goals down to win 3-2 at the Amex Stadium.

    Graham Potter's side fell behind to Ilkay Gundogan's early goal – the 10th City have scored in the opening two minutes under Pep Guardiola in the Premier League – but were buoyed by Joao Cancelo's red card.

    Timed at 09:03, Cancelo's dismissal was City's second-earliest from the start of a Premier League game, after Dedryck Boyata was sent off after 04:28 against Arsenal in October 2010.

    This was just the second time in Premier League history a team starting the day top of the table has led by two goals and lost, after City themselves did so against Man Utd in April 2018.

    Their possession figure in this match was just 37 per cent – the lowest recorded by a side managed by Guardiola in a single top-flight match.

    Phil Foden has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season. Among players in the top five European leagues currently aged under 21, only Erling Haaland (39) has scored more, but his stunning effort was not enough.

    Leandro Trossard and Adam Webster pegged City back, before Dan Burn's first Brighton goal, and his first in the league for any team since April 2018, completed the turnaround.

    Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City: Tuchel's team clinch Champions League qualification

    After their FA Cup disappointment, Chelsea took a step towards Champions League football, getting revenge in the process.

    Jorginho's penalty sealed the win, with Kelechi Iheanacho's goal ultimately proving a consolation, though the Leicester striker is the first player in Premier League history to score a goal on all seven weekdays within a single season. 

    No player has scored more Premier League goals in a single campaign with 100 per cent of them coming from the penalty spot than Jorginho's seven this season (level with James Milner in 2016-17). 

    Leicester have won just two of their past 30 away league games against Chelsea (D11 L17), winning 1-0 in December 2018 and 2-0 in September 2000.

    And the win for Thomas Tuchel's men means that City, United and Leicester, the top three teams starting the day, all failed to win. It is the first time it has happened since January 2017 (Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea).

  • Werner: This is the unluckiest season ever and I'm still in the Champions League final! Werner: This is the unluckiest season ever and I'm still in the Champions League final!

    Timo Werner acknowledged he could not have too many complaints despite again rueing his luck as he played a key role for Chelsea without scoring in their 2-1 win over Leicester City.

    Just four days on from losing to the Foxes in the FA Cup final, Chelsea leapfrogged their opponents into third at Stamford Bridge.

    The Blues retain control of their fate in the race to qualify for the Champions League, a competition in which they will play this season's final later this month.

    Werner will no doubt have a big role to play in the showpiece against Manchester City, but his personal fortunes showed little sign of turning in this match.

    Before Antonio Rudiger's opener, Werner had two goals disallowed – one for offside, the other for handball – and a big penalty appeal waved away.

    The striker did eventually win a spot-kick, a league-high fifth of the season, that Jorginho dispatched, meaning Kelechi Iheanacho's response counted for little for Leicester.

    But Werner still only has six goals in the Premier League.

    Although the Germany international's finishing is a concern, with his chances worth 11.24 expected goals producing shots with a value of just 8.55 expected goals on target (xGOT), there has been an element of misfortune, as the player suggests.

    The 2.55 difference between his xGOT total and goals tally indicates opposition goalkeepers performing above their expected level.

    "I think the first half particularly was the picture of the whole season for me up to now," Werner, whose 27 offsides rank joint-fourth in the top flight, told Sky Sports.

    "I was, every time, close but at the end not really close. I think for me maybe [it was] the unluckiest season I have ever had and will have maybe, because it can't be worse.

    "For example, the offside, okay the 10th time, I don't know how close it was, then a clear penalty for us. Of course I was surprised [it wasn't given] because for me it was a clear penalty.

    "And then the first one, I want to make a header and I get a little push and put my arm out and then the ball goes exactly against my arm.

    "I didn't know [it would be ruled out] because I felt a touch on my hand but didn't realise how it was. You see it on the picture that I get a little hit from behind and then my arm goes forward and it touches.

    "Unlucky the whole season. When you have a season like this and you are so unlucky and you still in the Champions League final and maybe reach the Champions League next year, all good."

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