Manchester United and Chelsea both secured the last remaining top four spots while Aston Villa stayed up on as the 2019-20 English Premier League drew to a dramatic close on Sunday.
United in 3rd were tied with 4th-placed Chelsea and both teams entered the final day needing a point apiece to stay above the Foxes who were a further point behind.
While Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge, the Red Devils headed to the King Power Stadium looking to hold off the Foxes and secure a return to the Champions League.
Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud struck to give Chelsea the win required to clinch Champions League football while Wolves, sixth prior to the game dropped to seventh on the log to miss out of the Europa League.
Over at the King Power Stadium, a cautious United found it difficult going against the Foxes who had Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi on from the start.
A drab first half ended in a goalless stalemate but with the game looking likely to end in a draw, United striker Anthony Martial was felled by Johnny Evans and Wes Morgan in the box with referee Mark Atkinson awarding a penalty in the 71st-minute.
Bruno Fernandes dispatched the spot-kick with ease to put United in charge of their destiny.
The Foxes pressed for a desperate equaliser and substitute Harvey Barnes nearly drew them level but his shot was straight at David De Gea in goal for United. Former United defender Evans then saw red for a rash tackle on Scot McTominay in added time.
Any hope of a Leicester equaliser was evaporated in added time as goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel inexplicably lost the ball to United substitute Jesse Lingard to tap into an empty net and send United into next season’s Champions League.
The Foxes finish fifth and will make do with a Europa League spot where they will be joined by Tottenham Hotspur who took advantage of Wolves’ loss to sneak into sixth with a draw at Crystal Palace.
While Leicester City’s fifth-placed finish is highly creditable, the Foxes will undoubtedly be disappointed and end the season on an anti-climax after being in a position to reach the Champions League for so long.
It will be scant consolation for them that striker Vardy will claim the Golden Boot, as the Premier League’s top scorer with 23 goals.
The drama at the top was also replicated at the bottom where two of Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Watford headed into the final day with relegation beckoning.
Villa, a point above Watford and three above Bournemouth the other two needed to better the results of the other two to avoid joining already relegated Norwich City in the Championship next season.
Jack Grealish’s 84th-minute goal looked to have secured Villa’s top-flight status but Andriy Yarmolenko replied a minute later to ensure a nervy end to the match.
In any event, the draw proved sufficient as Watford succumbed to a 3-2 defeat to drop to the second tier where they will be joined by Bournemouth who end their five-year Premier League stay despite a spirited 3-1 victory at Everton.
Kevin De Bruyne equalled Thierry Henry’s Premier League record of 20 assists in a season as Manchester City walloped Norwich City 5-0 in what was David Silva’s final game in the English top-flight.
De Bruyne scored twice and assisted Raheem Sterling’s 20th league goal of the campaign while Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez grabbed the other goals for City.
Elsewhere, Virgil Van Dyke, Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were all on target as champions Liverpool finished the campaign with 99 points after a 3-1 win at Newcastle.
Southampton ensured a strong end to the season with a 3-1 defeat of Sheffield United while Burnley secured a second top ten finish despite a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton who finished the campaign with their highest ever Premier League points total.