British soccer team Leicester celebrates 5,000-1 title success

Mon May 2, 2016 7:44pm EDT
 
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Leicester City's Premier League title dream became reality on Monday when one of the greatest sporting fairytales reached its conclusion in west London where chasing Tottenham Hotspur were held 2-2 by Chelsea.

The result provoked an outpouring of celebration in the provincial English city and as far away as Thailand and Japan, while Leicester's players had watched nervously on television along with Foxes fans packed into local bars 160km away.

Goals from Tottenham's Harry Kane and Son Heung-min had looked like extending the title race to the penultimate week of what has been an unforgettable season.

But Gary Cahill gave Chelsea a lifeline before the hour and Eden Hazard, whose goals helped the Blues win the title last year, curled in a superb 83rd-minute equaliser to deflate Spurs and confirm Leicester as champions for the first time.

As tempers flared at the end of a red-hot London derby at Stamford Bridge, television pictures cut away to Leicester's players celebrating in the living room of their striker Jamie Vardy, whose 22 goals have under-pinned his side's challenge.

Elsewhere in Leicester, the city's biggest ever party began in earnest, with hundreds of fans gathering outside the stadium and thousands more celebrating in pubs and bars.

Leicester's unlikely journey from no-hopers to English champions has captivated sports fans worldwide, nowhere more so than in Thailand, home of the club's owners King Power.

Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager who has masterminded Leicester's rise since taking over at the start of the season, was celebrating the first major league title of his long managerial career.   Continued...

 
Britain Football Soccer - Leicester City fans watch the Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur game in pub in Leicester - 2/5/16. Leicester City fans celebrate Chelsea's second goal. Reuters / Eddie Keogh