LEICESTER, England — Leicester consolidated its spot in the Champions League qualification places by beating Sheffield United 2-0 in the Premier League on Thursday thanks to goals by Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray.
The victory kept Leicester in fourth place, a point behind third-place Chelsea and above fifth-place Manchester United on goal difference.
A top-five finish — and therefore at least a place in the Europa League — is almost guaranteed, however, after moving six points clear of sixth-place Wolverhampton and having a much superior goal difference with two games remaining.
“The result gives us the second-highest finish in Leicester’s history," Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. "We have two games to go to create some more history.”
With Manchester City having won its appeal against a two-year ban from European competition, a top-four finish is required to qualify for the Champions League rather a finish in the top five.
Leicester finishes the season with a trip to Tottenham before what could prove to be a winner-takes-all home meeting with Man United.
Perez drove home the opening goal from just inside the area in the 29th minute after being teed up by Luke Thomas, a left back making his debut for Leicester.
Gray came on as a substitute in the 76th minute and doubled the lead within three minutes, scoring from an angled shot after being picked out by Jamie Vardy at the end of a counterattack.
Sheffield United stayed in eighth place, two points behind sixth-place Wolverhampton in the battle for Europa League qualification.
“We were way off of it," Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said. “We have taken some enormous steps forward this season, but the goalkeeper kept us in the game and we never deserved anything form the game — off it from the first minute to the 90th, no excuse from us.”
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The Associated Press