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Newcastle 0-0 Leicester: Magpies seal Champions League football
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Toby Rathborne
Newcastle celebrate qualifying for the Champions League
Newcastle celebrate qualifying for the Champions League

Newcastle booked their Champions League place with one game to play after a goalless draw with relegation-battling Leicester.

Nick Pope produced a crucial save in the 92nd minute to deny Timothy Castagne a winner for the Foxes but this was otherwise a game that the hosts completely dominated.

Eddie Howe's side created numerous chances, with Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimaraes all hitting the woodwork.

The breakthrough never came but a point was all that Newcastle required to ensure a spot in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.

Callum Wilson saw his shot denied by the woodwork
Callum Wilson saw his shot denied by the woodwork

Guimaraes was fortunate to only receive a yellow card rather than a red for a poor studs-up challenge on Boubakary Soumare in the opening minutes.

But Leicester, who left James Maddison and Harvey Barnes out of their side and set up to frustrate the hosts, were hanging on from minute one.

Almiron had the first opportunity, cutting inside from the right and powering over, before Elliot Anderson threatened the Foxes goalkeeper Daniel Iversen with a curling attempt of his own.

The visitors tried to hit Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho on the break but Newcastle's defence comfortably snuffed out any chances.

Wilson went close just before half-time as he fired a shot against the near post and then had his follow-up header cleared off the line by Wilfred Ndidi.

Almiron was also thwarted by the goal frame with his volley attempt before Isak swept the rebound high and wide.

In the second half, it was Guimaraes' turn to be denied by the post when he failed to react quickly enough to a flick-on from Wout Faes at a Newcastle corner and headed straight onto the woodwork.

Leicester almost won it in stoppage time but Pope dived into action to keep out Castagne's volley and secure the all-important point to clinch Champions League football for the Magpies.

Nick Pope provided a vital save late in stoppage-time
Nick Pope provided a vital save late in stoppage-time

After the draw, Howe expressed his delight that the job was done.

He said: "It is a big relief actually, an amazing night to see the supporters. 

"It is just a general reaction to what we've achieved — it is incredible. It's been a great evening for us."

The former Bournemouth boss explained that his side had massively overachieved on the targets they had set for themselves before the season.

He said: "It certainly was not top four. I think you always hope, you always believe and you have to dream. 

"But we did not feel that we were ready for that. After last season's battle with relegation it was whether we could consolidate and become a better team.

"To not have that flirtation with relegation and try to give it a go. The lads have been unbelievable for me this year and I can't praise them enough. Their attitude, their mentality. It's just been incredible."

Leicester remain in the relegation zone, two points adrift of safety with one game to play, but boss Dean Smith was pleased with their efforts.

He said: "Only time will tell [if it is a good point]. What we have done is taken it to the last game and made Everton need to win. That's what we had to do. 

"I make no apologies for the way we played today. I felt that we had to stay in the game. 

"Newcastle have been one of the top three teams all season, they have steamrollered some teams here [at St James' Park]. 

"We could not allow them to do that, with the height they have and the delivery from Kieran Trippier. It was still tough defensively, but we needed that extra centre-back. 

"We were starved of the ball for long periods but I thought our discipline was good. Yes, they had some chances, but they have done that against most of the teams in the league this season. 

"We were hoping in the last 20 minutes or so we could actually go for it a little bit more, and we ended up getting that chance in the 90th minute."


Newcastle UnitedPremier LeagueLeicester City
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