Chelsea top Leicester as battle for final Champions slots heats up

London, May 18 (EFE).- The battle for the final two spots in next season’s Champions League heated up further on Tuesday after Chelsea downed Leicester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho scored a goal apiece as the Blues avenged their loss to the Foxes in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Chelsea won despite a frustrating start to the match for Timo Werner, who had two apparent goals disallowed in the first half: one for offside and another for a hand ball. The referee also chose not to award a penalty for what seemed like a clear foul against the German by Youri Tielemans in the 19th minute.

With some 8,000 fans in the seats in southwest London for the first time in five months, they unsurprisingly gave the referee an earful.

Even so, Chelsea finally turned their superiority on the field into a lead on the scoreboard shortly after the intermission when Rudiger scored from close range off a corner kick after an unsuccessful attempt to clear the ball away by Jamie Vardy.

About 20 minutes later, a decision finally went in Werner’s favor when the referee awarded a penalty for a clumsy tackle by Wesley Fofana. Jorginho did the honors from the spot to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead.

Leicester City were far from finished and pulled one back in the 76th minute on a goal by Kelechi Iheanacho. They also had a chance to notch the equalizer, but Ayoze Perez badly misfired a shot from the edge of the area.

With the win, Chelsea (67 points) leapfrogged the Foxes (66 points) into third place in the Premier League and also guaranteed a place for second-place Manchester United in next season’s Champions League.

Manchester City, who have already clinched the Premier League title, lost to Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 on Tuesday.

With Liverpool (63 points) lurking in fifth place and with a game in hand, the race for the final two of four Champions League berths from the Premier League could come down to goal differential.

Chelsea leads in that category with +23, but Liverpool is at +21 with one fewer game played. The Foxes, who could have clinched a Champions League berth with a victory on Tuesday, stand at +20.

The Blues will wrap up their Premier League schedule with an away match against Aston Villa, while Leicester will square off at home against Tottenham. EFE


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