London (AFP) – Newcastle United derailed Leicester City’s bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League with a 4-2 win on Friday that virtually secured their place in the Premier League.
The defeat left Leicester third, two points ahead of Chelsea and five ahead of West Ham, with both London clubs having an ongoing game against the Foxes.
The setback has come five years to the day since Leicester received the Premier League trophy, having started the 2015/16 season as a 5000/1 rank outsiders to be crowned champions of England.
Newcastle’s victory put them 12 points out of the relegation zone, a bit safe with three games to go.
Joe Willock, on loan from Arsenal, sent Newcastle back in front in the 22nd minute at King Power Stadium as he scored in his fourth consecutive high-level game for the Magpies.
And the visitors doubled their lead before half-time with a rare goal from Paul Dummett.
Callum Wilson appeared to put the result beyond doubt with two second-half goals for Newcastle.
Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho, however, both scored in the final 10 minutes for Leicester before the Foxes were beaten with eight days of their FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Leicester were forced to change late shortly before kick-off when Jonny Evans limped from the warm-up and was replaced by Albrighton.
Newcastle made the race early, with Allan Saint-Maxim only prevented from opening the scoring thanks to a superb save from Kasper Schmeichel.
But Newcastle got the goal they deserved when Willock took advantage of a Caglar Soyuncu mistake to beat Schmeichel by 10 meters.
Dummett made it 2-0 in the 34th minute when he propelled a corner header from Matt Ritchie.
Midway through the second half, Newcastle were leading 3-0 as Ritchie’s pass on the left dodged Timothy Castagne and allowed Wilson to bypass Wilson to get around Schmeichel before scoring.
Wilson scored his second goal and Newcastle’s fourth 17 minutes from time after the Magpies struck on the counterattack.
Miguel Almiron’s pass opened up Leicester’s defense, with defender Wesley Fofana not seeing Wilson’s run, whose first curling stroke hit the post before pulling the rebound from a tight angle.
With a 4-0 lead, Steve Bruce’s men were heading for victory but Albrighton struck out a goal 10 minutes from time before Iheanacho gave Leicester hope for an unlikely 87th minute return.
Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka then kept his side’s two-goal lead with a brilliant point-blank save to deny Ayoze Perez.