LONDON: One more win – their fifth in a row – has brought Leicester City one step closer to win the English league title for the first time after their most remarkable season. Their success is being celebrated around the world because of the signal of hope it offers any and every club.

Their recent record has been all about grinding out narrow victories rather than about the swashbuckling, goal-laden games from early-season and their visit to struggling Sunderland was no exception. Five of their last seven games have ended in 1-0 victories and this was 2-0.

“It was a tough match,” said manager Claudio Ranieri, “very difficult because they could have drawn. The three points were very important. We needed a normal performance but our opponents were very desperate.

“I said it would be a tough match. We had some opportunities to finish the match earlier but made mistakes.

“Our season has been amazing. I want to say thankyou to everyone. It seemed as if we had moved all of the people Leicester to Sunderland today. I’m very satisfied. The title is not in the pocket but it’s on the table.”

Sunderland, wanting to take advantage of defeats for both relegation rivals Norwich and Newcastle, had slightly the better of the first half, but nothing to show for it. They nearest they came was in the 36th minute when Patrick Van Anholt had a justifiable claim for handball against Robert Huth turned down by referee Anthony Taylor.

Leicester, to the delight of all neutral fans, had also survived penalty appeals twice against Southampton.

Having survived, Leicester pounced in the 66th minute. England striker Jamie Vardy chased down a long ball out of defence from Danny Drinkwater to become the first City player to score more than 20 goals in a season since Gary Lineker in 1984-85.

“We’re going to win the league,” chanted their travelling fans as Vardy celebrated his first Premier goal in seven games.

Jan Kirchhoff had a steady game, prompting Sunderland attacks from midfield. But he was fortunate to escape, in the 82nd minute, after losing possession in midfield. Minutes earlier Jack Rodwell had shot Sunderland’s best chance over the bar from an angle on the left.

After that the Black Cats lost their cohesion in throwing men forward and were duly punished by Vardy with his second goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Leicester, now guaranteed Champions League football next season, need win three of their last five games to clinch the title.

Closest pursuers Tottenham maintained faint hopes of snatching the title glory after defeating Manchester United 3-0 with all the goals coming in six second-half minutes. This was Spurs’ first home win over United since 2001 and in a match which began half an hour late after United’s bus was caught in heavy traffic in north London.

Harry Kane and Christian Erikson created Dele Alli’s eighth goal of the season 20 minutes before the end, Toby Alderweireld headed their second from a free kick by Eric Lamela who then scored the third by sweeping home a left-wing cross from England fullback Danny Rose.

Easy for Liverpool

Liverpool, despite seven changes from their line-up in Dortmund last Thursday, still cruised to a simple 4-1 victory over Stoke, though their prospects of securing a Europa League place through league position are slim.

One change was enforced by suspension and one by injury. Emre Can was banned while captain Jordan Henderson will miss the rest of the season after damaging knee ligaments in Germany; the injury means he is also likely to be ruled out of Euro 2016 too.

Only Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Alberto Moreno kept their places as Jurgen Klopp hinted clearly at his immediate priority. Moreno duly shot Liverpool ahead on a Milner assist after eight minutes.

Stoke, missing injured Marko Arnautovic, responded 13 minutes later through Bojan Krkic. But Sheyi Ojo, making his first Premier start, laid on a second Liverpool goal for the restored Daniel Sturridge and, from that point, it was comparatively simple.

Milner and Sturridge provided a third goal for Divock Origi five minutes after half-time and the Belgian scored again on 65. His fine form over the past week has been a bonus for Klopp who need not worry so much about whether Sturridge is fit to play or not.