Premier League – Leicester secure Premier League survival with stalemate at Sunderland Premier League, Stadium of Light – Sunderland 0 Leicester City 0.
Sunderland and Leicester played out an edgy 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light which keeps the Black Cats in the relegation battle but secures the Foxes’ place in the Premier League for another season.
Seb Larsson went close after six minutes in a match devoid of quality, forcing Kasper Schmeichel into a smart stop after going for goal from a freekick when everyone else expected the Swede to cross.
Both sides were limited to long shots throughout the game, with Leicester’s set-pieces particularly disappointing.
The final whistle saw scenes of celebration from the Leicester players, who looked like relegation certainties when bottom of the league at Christmas, while Sunderland’s nervous wait for survival goes on.
6’- CHANCE: Sunderland win a freekick in a dangerous position on the left as Wasilewski hauls down Wickham. Larsson goes for goal when everyone else was expecting the cross! Schmeichel does very well to react to it, getting down smartly to his right, before tipping the ball to safety.
24′ – CHANCE: Cattermole picks Graham out brilliantly with a lofted outside-of-the-boot pass, but the striker’s scuffed volley is straight at Kasper Schmeichel.
58′ – CHANCE: Albrighton crosses to the far post from the right and Cambiasso looks primed to slam the ball into the net but can’t quite get the ball under control and Pantilimon gathers.
72’ – CHANCE: Adam Johnson drives past Cambiasso on the right before bending a shot towards goal before it’s deflected behind for a corner.
83′ – CHANCE: It’s Sunderland’s best opening for some time as Johnson arcs a cross towards the penalty spot, where fellow substitute Fletcher sends his header wide of the far post.
90’ – CHANCE: Sunderland almost capitulate at the very end as O’Shea leaves a ball for Pantilimon which is almost charged down by Vardy. Kramaric has a chance to bend the ball in from just outside the area but gets it all wrong and the chance is gone.
Leicester have kept three consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since August 2000.
Sunderland equal the PL record for most draws after 36 matches of a season, with 16.
This was Sunderland’s eighth goalless draw of the campaign, the most by a team in a single season since Fulham in 2008/09.
Will Sunderland pay for this draw? With away games against Arsenal and Chelsea to come, the Black Cats don’t look like picking up any more points this season. If Hull fail to beat Manchester United on the last day of the season that won’t matter, but if they do it will see them relegated instead. There’s still plenty to be nervous about.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Robert Huth (Leicester City): This was not a game for the purists and Huth is no purist. He’s a defender who gets things done and his tough defending, which crossed the line at times, helped his team to a crucial point which keeps them in the Premier League next season. Will the on-loan Stoke player be there to join them? Leicester fans will hope so.
SUNDERLAND: Pantilimon 8, Jones 7, van Aanholt 7, O’Shea 7, Coates 7, Bridcutt 6, Cattermole 7, Larsson 6, Wickham 6, Graham 6, Defoe 5… Subs: Fletcher 5, Johnson 6, Reveillere N/A.
LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel 7, Wasilewski 7, Huth 8, Morgan 7, Albrighton 6, Cambiasso 7, Mahrez 5, King 6, Schlupp 7, Ulloa 6, Vardy 6… Subs: Drinkwater N/A, Kramaric N/A