United hands City Premier League title with 2-1 loss to Leicester

Man United needed to avoid defeat against Leicester to delay Man City's title celebrations for at least two more days, but Solskjaer’s decision to field a weakened lineup proved costly.

Caglar Soyuncu, who scored the winner against Manchester United, celebrates Leicester City's victory with his teammate Kelechi Iheanacho on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

Manchester United handed the Premier League title to fierce rival Manchester City on Tuesday by losing 2-1 to Leicester, which ignited its bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

United needed to avoid defeat at Old Trafford to delay City’s title celebrations for at least two more days, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to field a weakened lineup amid a congested fixture schedule proved costly.

Leicester took full advantage and Çağlar Söyüncü’s 66th-minute winner lifted the team above Chelsea into third, eight points above fifth-place West Ham in the race for a top-four finish.

City holds an unassailable 10-point lead over second-place United with three games remaining for each team. It has won the league for the third time in four seasons — and seventh time in total.

“Congratulations to them," Solskjaer said. “They have had a fantastic season. Very pleased with my boys because they have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe.”

RELATED | Manchester City wins third Premier League title in four seasons

Liverpool and West Ham, the teams fighting with Leicester for an automatic Champions League qualifying spot, would have been unhappy to see their rival get an easier ride at Old Trafford owing to Solskjaer’s team selection that saw stars like Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba start on the bench.

Solskjaer felt he had no option, having been handed a schedule which forced United to play Aston Villa on Sunday, Leicester on Tuesday and the Liverpool on Thursday. That came about because United had to rearrange its fixture against Liverpool that was postponed at the start of May because of fan protests against the club's American owners.

“It can’t be like this again,” Solskjaer said. “We can’t play Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. It is impossible. That’s the reason we made the changes. It’s unheard of.”

Fifth-place West Ham must win its final three games and hope Leicester slips up in its remaining matches, against Chelsea and Tottenham.

Liverpool, in sixth place, might have a better shot as the deposed champion has four games left. If Liverpool wins all of them, Leicester would likely need to pick up four points against Chelsea and Tottenham.

United has come from behind to win on 10 occasions in the league this season but its backups couldn’t make it 11.

Luke Thomas volleyed into the top corner for his first Premier League goal to put Leicester in front, only for Mason Greenwood to show great footwork before finding the bottom corner for the equaliser five minutes later.

Söyüncü’s winner came off a header from Marc Albrighton’s corner, leaving Leicester in sight of a second season in the Champions League — after 2016-17 when it represented England as the Premier League's unlikely titleholder.

“It was a huge step. I am so proud of the team,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said.

“The players have definitely overachieved with all the big teams around.”

Old Trafford barricaded to prevent more Man United fan unrest

Old Trafford was barricaded on Tuesday to prevent a repeat of the fan unrest that saw Manchester United’s previous home game called off, while earlier the police arrested a man for allegedly attacking an officer during that storming of the stadium.

Metal fences blocked entrances for the Premier League game against Leicester while the stadium was ringed by officers, dogs and horses.

But only a couple of protesters against the owners — the Glazer family — were seen outside compared to more than 1,000 fans who swarmed the area on May 2 for the Liverpool game that had to be postponed when some fans got into the stadium and police were attacked.

A 25-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of wounding, violent disorder and burglary after breaching the stadium where an officer suffered a broken eye socket, broken nose and a slash to the face when an object was thrown.

“Although we currently have one male in custody we are continuing to appeal to the public with information or video footage from the day to make contact with police," Superintendent Caroline Hemingway said.

Long-running anger against the American owners that began with a 2005 leveraged takeover that loaded debt onto the club reignited when United joined the European Super League, which collapsed within 48 hours under widespread condemnation last month.

United was among six Premier League clubs that tried to join the largely closed competition with three clubs each from Spain and Italy.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :