Leicester City 0, Manchester United 2
Below par Manchester United managed to secure Champions League football next season with goals by Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard in a cagey win at Leicester City to finish third in the Premier League.Embed from Getty Images
The result meant the Reds finished third – their best finish in the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson retired – and with Chelsea beating Wolves, Leicester fell out of the top four for the first time in months.
And the signing of Fernandes was key to that 3rd place finish – with United unbeaten in all 14 Premier League games that he featured in since the Portuguese playmaker’s arrival at Old Trafford.
Fernandes converted United’s 14th spot kick in the Premier League this term, a new record, as the Foxes lacked a consistent supply line to Jamie Vardy and lost Jonny Evans to a dangerous red card tackle in injury time before a mistake by Kasper Schmeichel gifted Jesse Lingard a second United goal right at the end.
Winning the Golden Boot will come as scant consolation for Vardy, the oldest player to win the award at the age of 33, as his team mates couldn’t find him often enough to trouble the Reds.
At the end of a tiring campaign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United manager recalled Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right back instead of Timothy Fosu-Mensah in the only change from Wednesday’s draw with West Ham.
David De Gea again continued in goal while Brandon Williams carried on at left back with Luke Shaw ruled out for the rest of the season.
Leicester City were missing three out of their usual back four at the King Power Stadium and they struggled a little against United who edged the first quarter of the game.
Mason Greenwood headed over from Marcus Rashford’s deep cross while Wilfrid Ndidi lashed a curling shot over the bar after a mistake by Nemanja Matic.
Kelechi Iheanacho forced De Gea into a save while Jamie Vardy, chasing the Golden Boot, was offside as he went for the loose ball before De Gea dived on it.
Bruno Fernandes was easily offside when he received the ball from Paul Pogba and finished confidently past Kasper Schmeichel in the 32nd minute.
Youri Tielemans rolled the ball wide of the far post after Iheanacho squared the ball to him as the Foxes improved on their shaky start.
Luke Thomas’ cross was miscontrolled by Vardy as United struggled to shut down the Foxes while Rashford scooped the ball wide as Justin misjudged the spin on a ball into the box by the Reds.
Martial had a shot blocked while Schmeichel from Rashford from 8 yards out as United finally became coherent before the break.
And after the restart Martial was denied by a clean tackle by Justin after Matic had put him through.
Schmeichel had to race off his ine to beat Martial to a Greenwood through ball while Youri Tielemans free kick was flicked onto the crossbar by Vardy as Leicester brought off Iheanacho and replaced him with Ayoze Perez.
United finally got a penalty, their 20th decision this season in all competitions, when Wes Morgan brought down Anthony Martial in the 68th minute before Johnny Evans cleared the ball.
Bruno Fernandes makes Leicester City pay penalty
Bruno Fernandes stepped up after VAR ratified the decision and duly hop, skipped and jumped his way to the spot kick, sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way to score his 10th goal for United.
Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers had to react and sent on reinforcements with Harvey Barnes unable to get any power on his quick turn and shot to trouble De Gea.
Solskjaer sent on Jesse Lingard for Mason Greenwood as he looked to tighten up the Reds midfield.
Morgan swung and missed as a low cross from the left fell to him in the late stages, while Vardy headed over and Demarai Gray had a shot and free kick was deflected away.
Schmeichel was into the United area in added time for a Leicester free kick as the Foxes desperately tried to pull a goal back.
United resorted to time wasting in added time – Solskjaer shouted at Pogba not to shoot for goal as time ran out for the home side.
But it was too late for the Foxes after they went down to 10 men when Evans scythed down Scott McTominay after almost chopping up Lingard with seconds to play.
Lingard had the final word for the Reds when he was gifted a free shot on an empty goal after Schmeichel tried to play his way out of the box and sealed Leicester’s fate with his third goal of the season after rounding the Denmark ‘keeper.
It was Lingard’s first Premier League goal in 34 appearances going back to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge of the club – a 5-1 win at Cardiff in December 2018.
GOALS – Leicester City 0, Manchester United 2
Leicester City 0, Man Utd 1: 71. Bruno Fernandes sent a dancing Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way from the penalty spot – sliding the ball to the left – after Wes Morgan and Johnny Evans combined to bring down Anthony Martial.
Leicester City 0, Man Utd 2: 90+8. Jess Lingard was gifted United’s final goal of the 2019/20 Premier League season when Kasper Schmeichel gave him the ball while trying to play it out of his own box, and the United midfielder rounded him and scored into the empty net.
MATCH STATS – Leicester City 0, Manchester United 2
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Justin, Morgan, Evans, Albrighton (Gray 73), Choudhury (Praet 73), Ndidi, Tielemans (Barnes 73), Thomas (Hirst 88), Iheanacho (Perez 58), Vardy
Leicester City Subs not used: Ward, James, Mendy, Bennett
Bookings: Evans 68 (foul on Anthony Martial); Vardy
Sent Off: Evans 90+4 (straight red for two footed tackle on Scott McTominay)
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, Matic, Fernandes (McTominay 86), Pogba, Greenwood (Lingard 77), Rashford (Fosu-Mensah 90+7), Martial (Ighalo 90+7)
Man Utd Subs Not used: Romero, Bailly, Mata, Fred, James
Bookings: Maguire 9 (foul on Kelechi Iheanacho); Lindelof 63 (foul on Jamie Vardy); Pogba 90 (timewasting); Williams 90+2 (obstruction on Demarai Gray)
Goals: Martial pen 71; Lingard 90+8
Referee: Martin Atkinson