LEICESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United will return to the Champions League at the expense of Leicester after winning 2-0 at the King Power Stadium on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.
Bruno Fernandes netted from the penalty spot in the 71st minute — following Jonny Evans' foul on Anthony Martial — after being so integral to United's revival since joining in January.
And Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel gave the ball away in stoppage time to gift Jesse Lingard a goal.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen a remarkable turnaround for United in the second half of the season to finish in third, Leicester collapsed to throw away the chance of what seemed a certain top-four finish.
Having been 14 points behind Leicester in January, United finished four points above the 2016 champions.
Beyond the lack of fans in the stadium, United's visit to this central England city provided a reminder why the season is ending two months later than planned in late July. While most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted across England, Leicester is still in a local lockdown in an effort to contain infections.
When the pandemic forced the Premier League into a 100-day shutdown in March, Leicester was third with an eight-point lead over then fifth-place United.
But Leicester collected only nine points from nine games after the league resumed and was also overtaken by Chelsea.
Rodgers sorely missed injured creative midfielder James Maddison and fullbacks Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. Missing out on the Champions League windfall could now make it harder to hold on to players like Chilwell.
United, though, knows it won't spend a second season out of European football's elite competition.
The deal that brought midfielder Fernandes to England from Sporting Lisbon was worth up to 80 million euros, and United could collect more than that from the Champions League next season.
United won't be relying on its backup rote into the competition, with its Europa League campaign resuming next month.
Leicester will have to settle with playing in the Europa League next season after finishing fifth.