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Leicester win the Premier League by 10 points, Southampton clinch Europa League spot

Drinkwater equaliser sees champions Leicester sign off with 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

Image: Frank Augstein

Updated 17.45

DANNY DRINKWATER STRUCK a stunning late equaliser as Leicester City concluded their fairytale Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw against outgoing champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Cesc Fabregas’s penalty put Chelsea ahead, but Drinkwater crowned his return from suspension by levelling with a dipping 25-yard effort in the 82nd minute to ensure that manager Claudio Ranieri did not taste defeat on his return to his former club.

Beaten only three times over the whole campaign, Leicester finished the season 10 points clear of second-place Arsenal, with long-time pursuers Tottenham Hotspur a point back in third. They also equalled a club record of 12 consecutive league games without defeat.

Chelsea finished 10th, 31 points off the pace, and while Guus Hiddink said his goodbyes after his second stint as interim manager, there remains uncertainty over the future of captain John Terry.

Suspended for Leicester’s visit, the 35-year-old was set to take part in the post-match lap of honour but has yet to reveal whether he will sign the one-year contract extension that the club offered him this week.

[image alt="Chelsea v Leicester City - Barclays Premier League - Stamford Bridge" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/05/chelsea-v-leicester-city-barclays-premier-league-stamford-bridge.jpg" width="100%" height="" title="" class="aligncenter" /end]

[image alt="Britain Soccer Premier League" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/05/britain-soccer-premier-league-1568.jpg" width="100%" height="" title="" class="aligncenter" /end]

Leicester’s players were granted a guard of honour by their hosts as they took to the pitch beneath bright sunshine in west London, while Ranieri was presented with a memento by Chelsea, the club who had sacked him 12 years previously.

While the home fans said hello again to Ranieri, they also bade farewell to Hiddink, who gives way to Italy manager Antonio Conte, and implored Terry not to end his time at the club on 703 appearances.

On minute 26 — reflecting Terry’s squad number — Chelsea fans in the Shed End held up signs bearing the number 26 as the home crowd chanted: “John Terry, we want you to stay!”

The former England captain, sitting behind the dugouts, acknowledged the display with a raised hand.

Fabregas broke the deadlock in the 66th minute, sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way from the spot after Jeffrey Schlupp had been penalised for flying in towards Nemanja Matic.

But Leicester, fittingly, had the final say as Drinkwater gathered a pass from Schlupp and hit a sweet drive that flashed past Thibaut Courtois and into the bottom-left corner.


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[image alt="Southampton v Crystal Palace - Barclays Premier League - St Mary's Stadium" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/05/southampton-v-crystal-palace-barclays-premier-league-st-marys-stadium.jpg" width="100%" height="" title="" class="aligncenter" /end]

Elsewhere, Southampton clinched a top-six finish and Europa League football with a 4-1 win at home to Crystal Palace while West Ham’s European chase ended with a 2-1 defeat at Stoke.

Sadio Mane gave Southampton the lead two minutes before the break at St Mary’s, and Ronald Koeman’s side doubled their advantage through Graziano Pelle in the 62nd minute.

Jason Puncheon pulled one back for the visitors two minutes later but a Ryan Bertrand penalty and a Steven Davis effort three minutes from time wrapped up the points for Southampton.

[image alt="Stoke CIty v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - Britannia Stadium" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/05/stoke-city-v-west-ham-united-barclays-premier-league-britannia-stadium.jpg" width="100%" height="" title="" class="aligncenter" /end]

At the Britannia, Mame Biram Diouf scored an 89th-minute winner to ensure that Stoke finished ninth.

A win for West Ham would have seen them finish ahead of Southampton in the Europa League places, and Michail Antonio set them on course with the opening goal in the 23rd minute.

But Giannelli Imbula equalised for Stoke 10 minutes into the second half before Diouf struck at the death for the winner.

[image alt="Everton v Norwich City - Barclays Premier League - Goodison Park" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/05/everton-v-norwich-city-barclays-premier-league-goodison-park.jpg" width="100%" height="" title="" class="aligncenter" /end]

Goals from James McCarthy, Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas gave Everton a rare 3-0 win against Norwich, with Joe Royle and David Unsworth taking charge of the Toffees as caretaker managers following Roberto Martinez’s sacking.

And at Vicarage Road, Troy Deeney’s second-half penalty saw Watford and Sunderland play out a 2-2 draw.

© – AFP 2016. Additional reporting by Niall Kelly; an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sunderland had been relegated.

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