Manchester - Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City must wait to
complete their fairytale Premier League title quest after being held to a 1-1
draw by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Foxes needed three points to win the league for the
first time, but with thousands of fans back in Leicester and millions of new
converts around the world watching on television, they had to make do with one
after Wes Morgan cancelled out Anthony Martial's opener for United.
Leicester, who lost Danny Drinkwater to a late red card,
will be crowned champions unless second-place Tottenham Hotspur win at Chelsea
on Monday, but if Spurs do prevail, Ranieri's men will be left requiring two
points from their final games, at home to Everton and away to Chelsea.
"For us it was important to show our mentality. The
beginning wasn't good, but after that I appreciated our performance," said
"I'd like to watch the Tottenham match, but I'm on a
flight back from Italy so I might not know the result until I land."
It would still take a monumental collapse for Leicester not
to claim the title, but their players, staff and anxious supporters must wait a
few more hours, if not days, before their place in sporting history can be
While Leicester's destiny remains in their own hands, it was
a damaging result for Louis van Gaal's United, who were left four points below
the Champions League places with three games to play.
"I think we played one of our best matches of the
season, but it was not enough," said Van Gaal.
"When you don't win, of course it is tougher (to finish
in the top four)."
Leicester have turned winning with minimal possession into
an art form this season, but United's early dominance here was to prove the
precursor to a soft opener.
Also read: Ranieri closes in on Hollywood ending with Leicester
- Simpson survives -
Antonio Valencia was allowed to cut inside Christian Fuchs
and trundle a cross to the back post, where Martial exploited Danny Simpson's
errant positioning to slot his 15th goal of the season past Kasper Schmeichel.
Back at the ground where his father, Peter, made his name,
Schmeichel then produced a sharp one-handed save to thwart Jesse Lingard.
Shortly after Schmeichel's save, visiting captain Morgan
outmuscled the floundering Marcos Rojo to meet Drinkwater's arcing free-kick
with a headed 17th-minute equaliser.
The game was now an intense, robust encounter and United midfielder
Marouane Fellaini was guilty of a wild elbow to Robert Huth's chin, after the
German had provoked him by yanking his hair, that could earn the Belgian a
Asked for his reaction in a post-match television interview,
Van Gaal grabbed the reporter's hair and said: "When you see what Huth is
doing with Fellaini, is that not a penalty?"
Referee Michael Oliver did not spot Fellaini's infringement
and he was also involved in two incidents prior to half-time that could have
had major ramifications for either side.
In the first, Lingard intercepted a pass from Simpson, a
former United player, on halfway and raced towards goal, only to go to ground
as Simpson leant into him.
It would have been a red card if Oliver had called it a
foul, but he saw no wrongdoing and it was the same story moments later --
albeit perhaps more contentiously -- when Riyad Mahrez crashed to the turf
after being caught by Rojo inside the United box.
The teams continued to exchange chances in the second half,
with Martial shooting over and Lingard curling straight at Schmeichel for
United, while Leonardo Ulloa, once again deputising for the suspended Jamie
Vardy, twice threatened for the visitors and Mahrez stung David de Gea's palms.
The closing stages belonged to United, however, with Chris
Smalling's header clipping the post before Drinkwater, another Old Trafford old
boy, saw red after receiving a second yellow card for hauling back substitute
Memphis Depay right on the edge of the box.
The home fans wanted a penalty. Oliver, again, said no.For
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