Saints slip as Leicester climb off bottom

Southampton saw their quest for Champions League football next season suffer a setback as they lost 2-1 away to Stoke on Saturday, while Leicester moved off the bottom of the Premier League table.

Defeat meant the Saints missed out on the chance to leapfrog Liverpool into fifth place and move to within two points of Manchester City, currently occupying the fourth and final Champions League spot on offer to English clubs.

Faltering defending Premier League champions City are at home to West Ham on Sunday, when Liverpool play top-flight rivals Aston Villa in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium.

Morgan Schneiderlin scored from close range to put the Saints ahead in the 22nd minute at the Britannia Stadium after Jose Fonte headed on a corner from the right.

But the Potters were level early in the second half when Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis misjudged Steven N’Zonzi’s chip into the box. The ball hit the crossbar and Mame Diouf fired in the rebound.

And Stoke were ahead six minutes from time when Charlie Adam followed up to score after Jon Walters’s original shot was blocked.

– Foxes at the double –

Leicester, buoyed by their 3-2 win over West Bromwich Albion last weekend, saw off Swansea 2-0.

The Foxes needed just 15 minutes to take the lead at their King Power Stadium.

Argentinian forward Leonardo Ulloa, only drafted into the side after fellow striker David Nugent injured himself in the warm-up, latched on to a loose ball in the box after Wes Morgan had shielded it from Ashley Williams.

And King made the game safe for Leicester a minute from time when he scored after Esteban Cambiasso’s free-kick was parried by Lukasz Fabianksi.

Leicester’s third successive win took them off the bottom of the table for the first time since November and left them shy of safety on goal difference alone.

Ten-man Burnley found themselves at the foot of the standings after a 1-0 loss away to Everton.

Everton could have gone ahead in the ninth minute at Goodison Park when Aaron Lennon won a penalty after going down under a challenge from Dave Jones.

But regular penalty-taker Leighton Baines did not take the spot-kick and Ross Barkley’s effort was well-saved by diving Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Fortunately for Everton, it was not a costly miss with Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas turning in a cross from Seamus Coleman in the 29th minute.

Burnley’s task became even harder when, on the stroke of half-time, Ashley Barnes was sent off for a second bookable offence after sliding in on Coleman.

Mirallas was fortunate to stay on the pitch after a reckless challenge on George Boyd early in the second period saw him receive a yellow card instead.

West Brom went eight points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace.

James Morrison scored in just the second minute at the Hawthorns when, completely unmarked, he headed in a corner from eight yards out.

The Baggies doubled their lead in the 53rd minute through Craig Gardner’s brilliant 25-yard strike.

Premier League leaders Chelsea will go 10 points clear at the top of the table if they beat injury-hit Manchester United in Saturday’s late kick-off at Stamford Bridge.

FA Cup holders Arsenal, who started the weekend in second place, face Championship club Reading in a Wembley semi-final on Saturday.

Meanwhile Tottenham Hotspur will continue their quest for a European place away to Newcastle on Sunday.

Photo Credits : AFP

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