Newcastle officially confirmed their return to the Champions League with a goalless draw with 18th-placed Leicester on Monday night.
The Magpies hit the woodwork three times while Nick Pope had to deny Timothy Castagne late on to secure qualification for the group stage of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since 2002/03.
The point lifts Leicester above Leeds down at the bottom but they still sit in the relegation zone and only victory on the final day against West Ham will give them any hope of playing Premier League football next season.
Joelinton was a late dropout from Newcastle’s starting XI due to injury as Elliot Anderson came in to play at a boisterous St James’ Park.
Bruno Guimaraes survived an early appeal for a red card after catching Boubakary Soumare high on the thigh. The Brazilian was booked rather than dismissed.
The visiting coaches of Dean Smith, John Terry and Craig Shakespeare constantly popped up on the touchline as Leicester defended deep, though they had the woodwork rather than total discipline to thank going into half-time all square.
Callum Wilson smacked the post from close range before Miguel Almiron scuffed a volley into the ground and back off the woodwork, with Alexander Isak sending the rebound wide.
James Maddison and Harvey Barnes were both omitted from Leicester’s starting XI but entered the fray in the second half alongside attacker Patson Daka.
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Almiron picked out Isak as the Swede forced a stop out of Daniel Iversen with a curling effort and it seemed like the ball would never go over Leicester’s goal line when Kieran Trippier’s devilish corner was somehow averted from danger by Wout Faes. Guimaraes could only hit the upright on the follow-up.
Leicester did manage some sustained pressure late on and nearly stole a victory that would have put them in the driving seat heading into the final day.
Maddison’s delivery after a prolonged free-kick routine found Castagne, but the Belgian’s connection was kept out by Pope as the clash at St James’ Park ended goalless with the Public Investment Fund-backed hosts returning to the Champions League.
The Foxes, meanwhile, are facing relegation having won the Premier League in 2016 a few years after promotion from the Championship. They need to overturn a two-point deficit behind rivals Everton.
GK: Nick Pope (7); RB: Kieran Trippier (8), CB: Fabian Schar (8), CB: Sven Botman (7), LB: Dan Burn (8); CM: Sean Longstaff (6), CM: Bruno Guimaraes (8), CM: Elliot Anderson (7); RW: Miguel Almiron (7), ST: Callum Wilson (6), LW: Alexander Isak (6)
Substitutes: Allan Saint-Maximin (7), Jacob Murphy (6), Anthony Gordon (N/A)
GK: Daniel Iversen (7); RWB: Timothy Castagne (7), CB: Harry Souttar, CB: Jonny Evans (7), CB: Wout Faes (7), LWB: Luke Thomas (7); CM: Wilfred Ndidi (8), CM: Youri Tielemans (7), CM: Boubakary Soumare (7); ST: Kelechi Iheanacho (5), ST: Jamie Vardy (6)
Substitutes: James Maddison (6), Harvey Barnes (6), Patson Daka (6), Nampalys Mendy (N/A)