HomeChampionshipLeicester 5-0 Southampton: Foxes extend lead at top of Championship table to...

Leicester 5-0 Southampton: Foxes extend lead at top of Championship table to close in on Premier League

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Abdul Fatawu scored a hat-trick and Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy were also on the scoresheet as Leicester City surged four points clear at the top of the Championship, all but mathematically ending Southampton’s hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier League.

On-loan Sporting CP winger Fatawu collected Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s pass to coolly slot the Foxes, who were dominant throughout, ahead after 25 minutes.

After Ndidi powered in Stephy Mavididi’s 62nd-minute cross, Fatawu cut inside to curl in the pick of the goals with 15 minutes remaining.

The Ghana international set up Vardy for a close-range finish before completing his treble as part of a slick counter-attack nine minutes from time, also ensuring the hosts have a four-goal superiority over second-placed Leeds United.

Leicester will be guaranteed an immediate return to the top flight if they win at Preston North End on Monday. Saints are play-off certainties, sitting six points behind Leeds with two games of their season remaining and an 18-goal inferiority to the Whites.

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Leicester promotion: Foxes on brink

Leicester had looked likely to cruise to the Championship title until a run of six defeats in 10 matches between February and April gave Leeds and Ipswich Town a real chance of knocking Enzo Maresca’s side into the play-offs almost at the last.

This was an emphatic way to reassure any nerves among their supporters against opponents who had also harboured fainter hopes of a late charge at the top two places.

Southampton, as usual, bossed possession, finishing on 66% but failing to have any of the six shots on target between the teams on a night that made it likely they will finish fourth.

“At the start of the second half we were so good and were so on top,” Southampton manager Russell Martin told BBC Radio Solent.

“They scored against the run of play. And after that I did not like one bit what I saw from my team. ThereΒ was no togetherness, no character, no fight.”

Should Leicester fail to win promotion by virtue of victory against Preston or their rivals dropping points, they will have another opportunity at home to midtable Blackburn Rovers on May 4.

“We just need one more win to finish our job and hopefully that will be against Preston away,” Maresca told BBC Radio Leicester.

“The performance was good but I don’t think it was our best of the season. But it was a fantastic performance on and off the ball: the way they pressed, the way they worked until the end.”

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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