The hosts are on the verge of a return to the Premier League after Abdel Fatawou scored a hat-trick in a crushing defeat…Saints’ hopes of automatic promotion all but gone

  • Leicester City automatically advances to the Premier League with victory
  • Fatau scored a hat-trick, with goals from Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy
  • Nottingham Forest stripped of compassion after three poor decisions – listen to Where It All Begins podcast

one more. The finish line is in sight for Guardiola’s former right-hand man Enzo Maresca after an up-and-down season at Leicester City.

Although later than many predicted, the Foxes are now just one win away from returning to the Premier League.

Abdel Fataw’s hat-trick, plus goals from Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy, helped them beat an under-performing Southampton who looked more like relegation Feed, not hope for upgrades.

They were 14 points ahead of third place on Valentine’s Day and looked set to advance, but as many London Marathon runners will attest, maintaining endurance in the final miles is just as important, if not more so, than a good start.

They stumbled a bit but finished the game in great fashion.

Abdel Fattaw scored a hat-trick as Leicester beat Southampton on Tuesday night
Fatau scores on a pass from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
In the 75th minute, Fatau scored his second goal with a beautiful curve ball from 20 yards out.
Fatau got the match ball in the 81st minute with a deft move

The victory leaves Leicester City needing to beat either Preston or Blackburn in their final game to win promotion. It was billed as a potential banana peel but ended in utter devastation, with Leicester silencing all their critics and establishing themselves as the best team in the division.

match facts

Leicester: Hermansson, Ricardo Pereira (Chowdhury 64), Faith, Westergaard (Cody 87), Justin, Ndidi (Pratt 82), Winks, Dewsbury Hall, Fatau (McAteer 87), Vardy (Daka 82), Mavididi.

Substitute not used: Doyle, Cannon, Akagon, Storacik.

reserved: Westergaard.

Target: Fatau 25, Ndidi 62, Fatau 75, Vardy 79, Fatau 81.

southampton: McCarthy, Bree (Manning 60), Harwood-Bellis, Bednarek, Walker-Peters, Rothwell (Smallbone 40), Charles, Aribo (Stephens 83), Brooks (Edozie) 61), Adams (Fraser 83), Adam Armstrong.

Substitute not used: Ramli, Suleimana, Magoma, Diblin.

arrive: 31,872

Reference No: Robert Madeley (West Yorkshire).

Middlesbrough gave Leeds United a great game on Monday night but ended up losing 4-3, with Foxes fans kicking every ball in their living rooms. If Leeds United lose, then Leicester City are guaranteed promotion if they win here.

But Daniel Falke’s side showed their ruthlessness with a performance that said “It’s up to you, Leicester City”. Given their recent form – four wins in their last 11 games – and opponents fourth-placed Southampton, three points are a foregone conclusion.

The atmosphere at the King Power Stadium was more one of determination than nerves, though, and they started the game the same way they started the season. Enzo Maresca’s side won their first 13 of 14 games, a foundation that provided a safety net against late-season defeats.

Maresca’s side did not open the scoring until the 25th minute, but after Ndidi’s arc was an inch wide the team felt a goal was coming and Fatau also created some good space but failed to find it. A decent shot.

Still, after some hurried shots, the goal was outstanding, thanks to all three units – defence, midfield and attack. Waterface received the ball at the midfield line and quickly passed the ball to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, the midfielder produced a brilliant performance to break up the defence.

The 20-year-old, on loan from Portuguese league leaders Sporting Lisbon, made clever off-the-ball runs, collecting the pass in stride before firing the ball into the far corner. It was a good start, with Leicester keeping the pace and Jamie Vardy looking sharp.

Wilfred Ndidi scored the second goal with a header from Stephy Mavididi’s perfect cross
Jamie Vardy completed the victory in the 79th minute, crossing the goalkeeper for the first time
Enzo Maresca’s side are now just one win away from an immediate return to the Premier League

Ndidi scored the second goal with a header from Stephy Mavididi’s perfect cross, before Fatawu added the third with a beautiful curling shot from 20 yards out.

Vardy scored the fourth goal and Fatau completed his hat trick in the 80th minute.

What followed was a loud cry of “We want to rise!” This league loves plot twists, but it’s hard to see any other outcome right now.

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