The Washington Post

Wembley spectators give boost to Leicester


The goal scored by Kelechi Iheanacho didn’t just send Leicester into its first FA Cup final since 1969. It was the first to be cheered by spectators at Wembley in more than a year.

Not since March 2020 had fans been allowed into English football’s national stadium through three national lockdowns.

Now as coronaviru­s restrictio­ns are eased, Wembley was allowed a 4,000-strong, socially distant crowd Sunday to witness Leicester’s 1-0 victory over Southampto­n to test the return of spectators.

“We could hear a number of supporters for Leicester in the crowd, so that was really, really nice,” Leicester Manager Brendan Rodgers said. “It’s a step towards getting that sort of connection back because the game is nothing without the supporters.”

While those permitted were only local residents in the north London district over age 18 who tested negative for the coronaviru­s, some fans of both teams did manage to land tickets.

By the time Leicester faces Chelsea in the May 15 FA Cup final, the government hopes up to 21,000 spectators will be allowed, including a sizable contingent officially from both clubs.

The pilot scheme is aimed at trying to increase the numbers to half of the 90,000-capacity Wembley for the European Championsh­ip final July 11. . . .

Mason Greenwood’s secondhalf double and a stoppage-time goal from Edinson Cavani helped Manchester United close the gap on Premier League leader Manchester City to eight points with a 3-1 win over Burnley.

ITALY: Forget about extendl ing its record run of nine straight Serie A titles. At this rate, Juventus may not even qualify for the Champions League.

Atalanta, the Italian league’s ongoing Cinderella story, beat the Bianconeri, 1-0, with a late goal from Ruslan Malinovsky­i to leapfrog Juventus into third place.

Juventus dropped to fourth — which carries the final Champions League berth — two points behind Atalanta and had its advantage over fifth-place Napoli cut to two points after Napoli held Italian leader Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw.

SPAIN: After seeing rivals l gradually cut into its lead, Atlético Madrid finally got some breathing room at the top of the Spanish league. Atlético ended its winless run by routing last-place Eibar, 5-0, then saw city rival Real Madrid held 0-0 by Getafe.

Those results gave Atlético a three-point lead over secondplac­e Madrid.

FRANCE: Defending chaml pion Paris Saint- Germain scored in the last seconds of injury time to beat Saint-etienne, 3-2, and close the gap on French league leader Lille to one point.

Third-place Monaco won, 3-0, at struggling Bordeaux to stay one point behind PSG and one ahead of fourth-place Lyon, which won, 2-1, at Nantes.

GERMANY: Erling Haaland l ended his four-game scoreless run to help Borussia Dortmund beat Werder Bremen, 4-1, and cut the distance to the Bundesliga’s Champions League qualificat­ion spots.

MLS: Javier “Chicharito” Herl nandez scored two goals, Sacha Kljestan added another, and the L.A. Galaxy rallied to beat Inter Miami, 3-2, in the season opener in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. . . .

Andre Blake had six saves to help the visiting Philadelph­ia Union draw, 0-0, with defending MLS champion Columbus.

European Super League set

A group of 12 elite clubs dramatical­ly split European soccer by announcing plans to walk away from the Champions League to create a breakaway midweek competitio­n, called the Super League, despite the threat of legal action from UEFA.

Clubs involved in the move to quit the existing structures — in an apparent grab for more money and power — include Real Madrid, Barcelona and the Americanow­ned Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.

The other teams are Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Manchester City and Tottenham. The Super League organizers hope for three more teams to join.

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