Newcastle drop points in top-four race, Southampton down



Sun, 14 May 2023 - 08:32 GMT


Sun, 14 May 2023 - 08:32 GMT

LEEDS, England, May 13 (Reuters) - Newcastle United suffered more jitters in their quest to finish in the Premier League's top four as they drew 2-2 at relegation-threatened Leeds United but Southampton's agony is over after being relegated on Saturday.

Leeds defender Rasmus Kristensen's second-half equaliser denied Newcastle the victory that would have all but assured them a place in next season's Champions League.

It could also prove vital in Leeds's bid to escape relegation although they remained third-bottom of the table with two games left.


Southampton's relegation has looked a certainty for a while and their decade-long stay in the top flight was officially over after a 2-0 home defeat by Fulham.

Only a win would have kept their survival hopes alive but goals by Carlos Vinicius and substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic condemned them to a 24th defeat of a miserable season in which they have sacked two managers.

"Disappointing. It has been coming. We knew we were in a difficult position," Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse told the BBC. "From the first day of the season until now you can tell the standards have slipped."


The battle to avoid joining Southampton in the second tier remains fierce, though, with 16th-placed Nottingham Forest earning a point in a 2-2 draw at Chelsea.

Southampton have 24 points from 36 games, 19th-placed Leicester City have 30 from 35 with Leeds on 31 points from 36 games and Everton on 32 from 35. Steve Cooper's Forest have 34 points with two games left.

Everton host leaders Manchester City on Sunday with Leicester at home to Liverpool on Monday.

The afternoon began in thrilling fashion at Elland Road where Leeds took an early lead, missed a penalty, had two penalties scored against them and had a man sent off.

Leeds took the lead in the seventh minute as Rodrigo got his head on Patrick Bamford's cross and though Nick Pope saved, Leeds captain Luke Ayling fired home a rebound.

Joelinton bundled over Junior Firpo in the box to give Leeds a penalty but Bamford's spot-kick was saved by Nick Pope.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak was then hacked down by Maximillian Wober and Callum Wilson converted from the penalty spot. Newcastle were awarded a second penalty midway through the second half when Firpo handled and Wilson proved deadly once again.

Leeds battled back and Kristensen popped up in the 79th minute to hammer home a deflected equaliser before Firpo saw red in stoppage time for a second yellow card.

"In the space of a few minutes in the first half when we get a second penalty to go 2-0 up, I think I'd be here saying what a great three points that was today," Leeds interim manager Sam Allardyce said. "We shot ourselves in the foot."

Newcastle, beaten by Arsenal last week, remained third with 66 points, but Manchester United drew level with them after a 2-0 home victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers with Anthony Martial and Alejandro Garnacho both on target.

Both sides have three games left but will be looking over their shoulders at Liverpool who have 62 points ahead of their clash with Leicester, although Juergen Klopp's team will have only two games remaining after that game.


Forest's Cooper has been under pressure for much of the season but his side are potentially one win away from surviving against the odds.

For the second game running Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi scored twice for Forest, putting them ahead in the 13th minute and equalising in the 62nd with a header. Raheem Sterling's double early in the second half had put 11th-placed Chelsea ahead, albeit briefly.

"Some positives to take out of it. A lot of the betting would have been for us to get nothing and we got something," said Cooper whose side face Arsenal next.

Crystal Palace beat Bournemouth 2-0 in the other game thanks to two goals by Eberechi Eze.

The title race continues on Sunday with Arsenal at home to Brighton and City at Everton.




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