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Result: Ayoze Perez puts Newcastle within a whisker of safety

Result: Perez puts Newcastle within a whisker of safety
© Reuters
Perez's first-half header earned Newcastle just their third Premier League away win of the season.

Ayoze Perez eased Newcastle's relegation fears as the Magpies ended their away win drought at Leicester.

The striker's eighth goal of the season earned the Magpies a 1-0 victory and their first victory on the road since December.

It moved Newcastle up to 13th, 10 points clear of the Premier League's relegation zone, having played up to two games more than their rivals with four matches remaining.

Ayoze Perez (left) was United's hero
Ayoze Perez (left) was United's hero (Nick Potts/PA)

Salomon Rondon's splendid first-half free kick hit the bar for Newcastle and Jamie Vardy missed the Foxes' best chance when he lifted over late on as the hosts' four-game winning run ended.

Defeat was also a major dent in the race for seventh and a possible Europa League spot with Watford, Everton and Wolves all ready to take advantage over the weekend.

The Foxes had started well enough and the teams traded early half chances through Jamaal Lascelles and Jamie Vardy before Leicester took control.

Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes were threats but the Magpies almost took the lead out of the blue after 15 minutes.

Rafa Benitez has helped guide his side close to safety
Rafa Benitez has helped guide his side close to safety (Nick Potts/PA)

Wes Morgan fouled Perez and Rondon crashed a brilliant curling free kick against the crossbar from 30 yards.

The Foxes quickly regained their composure and Chilwell forced Martin Dubravka into a low save after 21 minutes.

Dubravka also gathered Barnes' sharp effort after the winger's strong run with Newcastle having to rely on their counter attacking threat.

But the Foxes, who were sloppy at the back, had given some encouragement and the Magpies cashed in to grab the winner after 32 minutes.

It was poor from Leicester but Newcastle were clinical as Matt Ritchie's wicked cross found Perez who ran off the back of the unsighted Morgan to glance in a terrific near-post header across Kasper Schmeichel.

Miguel Almiron then forced Schmeichel into a low stop as the visitors pushed for a surprise second.

It had been a textbook counter-attacking away performance from Benitez's side and they began the second half on the front foot – only for Perez to horribly miscue Rondon's cross.

Leicester, with just two clean sheets this year, were ragged and Almiron sliced well over just before the hour as the visitors threatened again.

Slowly, though, the Foxes built momentum without finding the killer pass with Vardy well marshalled by the Magpies' defence.

It was a first defeat in five for Harry Maguire and Leicester
It was a first defeat in five for Harry Maguire and Leicester (Nick Potts/PA)

A fifth straight win would have equalled Leicester's best run in the top flight since 2017.

But their hopes began to fade and James Maddison curled a free kick over with 15 minutes left.

Time was running out and Schmeichel needed to be alert to save at Perez's feet after the striker turned Chilwell.

Yet Vardy should have levelled with 10 minutes left when he was slipped in by Youri Tielemans and could only scoop over with Dubravka to beat.

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Raheem Sterling celebrates putting his side back ahead during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Bournemouth on December 1, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814

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