Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Leicester City must wait to clinch English title

Leicester City defender Wes Morgan, right, celebrates his tying goal with striker Jeff Schlupp in the 17th minute. Leicester City, which spent most of last season in the relegation zone before surging to save its Premier League spot, is close to an improbable title.

Getty Images

Leicester City defender Wes Morgan, right, celebrates his tying goal with striker Jeff Schlupp in the 17th minute. Leicester City, which spent most of last season in the relegation zone before surging to save its Premier League spot, is close to an improbable title.

MANCHESTER, England — One chance gone for Leicester in its attempt to clinch a first English league title.

Over to you, Tottenham Hotspur.

Needing three points to pull off the ultimate underdog success story in sports, Leicester managed to pick up only one from a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Leicester has two games left — Saturday at home against Everton and May 15 at defending champion Chelsea— to collect the required two points. It might not even go that far, as second-place Spurs has to win today at Chelsea to keep the title race alive.

And Tottenham has not won at its London rival since 1990.

"I'd like to watch the (Chelsea-Spurs) match," said Claudio Ranieri, Leicester's Italian manager, "but I'm on a flight back from Italy, so I might not know the result until I land."

Ranieri, seeking his first major title in 30 years as a manager in a vagabond career throughout Europe, said he was flying back home to see his 96-year-old mother. He planned to have lunch with her today before flying back to England.

Some eight minutes into Sunday's game, Anthony Martial — a player whose $57 million transfer fee from Monaco amounted to the total of what it cost to put Leicester's lineup together — scored for Manchester United.

But Ranieri's team of rejects, journeymen and unheralded foreign players has been confounding the doubters all season, and it did so again at venerable Old Trafford stadium. Wes Morgan scored on a header from Danny Drinkwater's free kick in the 17th minute to tie it.

Drinkwater, a box-to-box midfielder, was sent off for collecting a second yellow card in the 86th minute, but the Foxes held on for a point.

"I am very pleased with our performance after the goal," Ranieri said. "We keep calm and score a goal. After that we get a lot of confidence and play better. After that, it was another match."

Fans crammed into pubs in Leicester, an ethnically diverse town about 100 miles north of London, to watch. The city has transformed into a sea of blue, the team's color. It's not just the fans, who wear blue shirts, scarves, wigs and nail polish. It's the cityscape as well. The train station, for instance, is festooned with blue and white bunting; the team's flag flies over the town hall; a blue scarf is draped around a bronze statue of King Richard III; and, in the evenings, landmark buildings are lit up blue.

And at Old Trafford, Leicester's vocal traveling fans stayed behind after the final whistle, chanting "Tottenham Hotspur, we're waiting for you," and "Are you watching, Tottenham?"

It seems likely that they were — much of the sporting world was kept waiting another day to see if Leicester, a 5,000-to-1 bet to win the title in the preseason, can clinch its Cinderella championship.

Spain: Villarreal clinched a berth in Europe's top competition next season with a comfortable 2-0 win at regional rival Valencia. Villarreal is guaranteed to finish fourth in La Liga, clinching Spain's final spot in the Champions League next season.

MLS: Diego Valeri scored on a free kick in the 74th minute as host and defending champion Portland defeated Toronto 2-1.

Italy: Juventus, which clinched its fifth straight title when Napoli lost Monday, celebrated by defeating visiting Carpi 2-0 in a game with a party atmosphere.

Premier League top 5

GP W L T Pts

Leicester City 36 22 3 11 77

Tottenham 35 19 4 12 69

Arsenal 36 19 7 10 67

Man. City 36 19 10 7 64

Man. United 35 17 9 9 60

Leicester City must wait to clinch English title 05/01/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2016 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams


    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  2. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  3. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Steven Souza Jr., hugging Mallex Smith after Smith’s solo home run in the eighth inning, feels relief after tests are negative on his injured hip.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)