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English Premiership

Sunderland relegated, Vardy makes Leicester safe

Sunderland’s Victor Anichebe (R) challenges Bournemouth’s English defender Adam Smith (L) during their Premier league match at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north-east England on April 29, 2017 © AFP / Lindsey PARNABY

LONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 29 – David Moyes’s sorry Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League after a 1-0 home defeat by Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Allied to Hull City’s 0-0 draw at Southampton, the result left Sunderland 13 points adrift of safety with only 12 points to play for this season.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Sunderland manager Moyes. “I feel for the supporters. They put their heart and cash into the team and my thoughts are mainly with the supporters.”

Josh King scored the goal that condemned Sunderland to the Championship, converting a pass from Ryan Fraser after a sweeping counter-attack in the 88th minute.

Southampton had a chance to give Sunderland a stay of execution, but Dusan Tadic’s stoppage-time penalty was saved by Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.

Ask if he will remain in his post, Moyes replied: “To think about it and talk about it now is just too quick.

“They’re questions for a week or two down the line. I’m not sure it’s for now. I’d like to make sure we get Sunderland back in the Premier League.”

Sunderland have been in the Premier League since 2007, but their return to the second-tier Championship has long appeared only a matter of time.

Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy applauds supporters after the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on April 29, 2017 © AFP / Oli SCARFF

They have been in the relegation zone since September and have not moved off the foot of the table since January.

“The league table never lies,” said Sunderland captain John O’Shea. “Performances and results are the obvious thing that have brought us down.”

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Victory effectively secured Bournemouth’s safety, catapulting Eddie Howe’s side up the table to 10th place, 10 points above the relegation zone.

Hull’s draw at Southampton left Marco Silva’s side three points clear of danger, ahead of third-bottom Swansea City’s trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

– ‘Finish on a high’ –

Hull City’s goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic dives to save the penalty kick taken by Southampton’s Dusan Tadic during their English Premier League football match at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on April 29, 2017 © AFP / Glyn KIRK

After a forgettable encounter at St Mary’s, Southampton were awarded a penalty at the death when Alfred N’Diaye was penalised for holding Maya Yoshida.

Tadic drilled his spot-kick towards the bottom-right corner, but Jakupovic plunged low to his left to turn the ball away and condemn Sunderland to the drop.

“It’s a really important moment. If they had scored, they would not deserve it,” said Hull manager Silva.

“It is a good result. You want more, but it’s a good point.”

With Stoke City and West Ham United also drawing 0-0, the only other goal in the four afternoon games came in outgoing champions Leicester City’s 1-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion.

Jamie Vardy settled the game in the 43rd minute, rifling home his 15th goal of the season from Shinji Okazaki’s pass down the inside-right channel.

After an arduous season for Leicester, last season’s fairytale champions have now reached the 40-point mark that usually guarantees survival.

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“I want Jamie Vardy to finish on a high,” said Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare, whose side sit 11th. “He’s scored quite a few of late and I want that to continue.”

Burnley also took a giant stride towards safety after their first away league win of the season, a 2-0 success at Crystal Palace, left them on 39 points.

Ashley Barnes gave the visitors an eighth-minute lead, before substitute Andre Gray’s goal five minutes from time put the result of Saturday’s late kick-off beyond doubt.

“It’s been a tough challenge winning away from home in the Premier League,” said Burnley manager Sean Dyche. “But the focus and the mentality of the players I thought was outstanding.”

Leaders Chelsea travel to Everton on Sunday looking to preserve their four-point lead over second-place Tottenham Hotspur, who host Arsenal in the last north London derby at White Hart Lane.


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