English Premiership

Leicester complete Houdini act

2015-05-16 19:18
Nigel Pearson

Sunderland - Nigel Pearson could relax at last on Saturday as the Leicester manager saw his side complete a remarkable escape from almost certain relegation with the point from a 0-0 draw away at fellow strugglers Sunderland securing their place in the Premier League for next season.

Leicester - recording their fifth clean sheet in six matches - are four points above third from bottom Hull with just one match remaining having gone on an extraordinary run of six wins in their last eight matches.

Indeed their form has been such that it is only bettered in the rest of the European leagues by four teams Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach and French league leaders Paris Saint Germain.

The point also all but ensured Sunderland stay up after yet another battle against relegation, but under Dick Advocaat they have become hard to beat and this extended their unbeaten run to seven games.

They are three points clear of Hull - who host Manchester United in their final game next Sunday - with a slightly worse goal difference.

The first-half was a dour affair as well as defenders seemed content to concede free-kicks rather than allow their opponents to get away and cause them damage - Danny Graham for the hosts breaking the tedium with a smart volley that almost brought him only his second goal for the club.

However, once again Schmeichel - son of former Denmark and Manchester United great Peter - was equal to the task.

Schmeichel had produced a first class save early on in the proceedings denying Sebastian Larsson, but the early promise shown by that skillful move was a false dawn.

The second-half proved to be as short of entertainment as the first, a result of the teams nerves that a mistake would keep them in the relegation battle down to the wire.

Sunderland pushed for a game breaker while Leicester seemed content to hold on for the point that would ensure their amazing escape reached its happy conclusion.

Sunderland's Adam Johnson went closest as the former England international, who had come on as a substitute, cut in from the flank but his shot while on target was saved by Kaspar Schmeichel.

Prior to that the best chance had fallen to Sunderland defender Patrick van Anholt but he sent his shot just wide of the post.

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