Leicester beat Sheffield United to bolster their Premier League top-four hopes, as Aston Villa suffer late blow

Goals from Perez and Gray earn Foxes 2-0 win, while relegation threatened Villa concede late equaliser at Everton

Leicester City boosted their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four as goals by Ayoze Perez and substitute Demarai Gray secured a 2-0 home win over Sheffield United.

Aston Villa's survival hopes, meanwhile, were seriously damaged as Everton snatched a late draw on Thursday.

The result left Leicester fourth on 62 points from 36 games, three ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United who were visiting Crystal Palace later and one behind Chelsea in third.

Sheffield United stayed eighth on 54 points, two behind sixth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers who occupy a Europa League qualifying spot.

Having won only one of their last six league games, Leicester needed a victory to get back on track in their bid to secure a berth in next season's Champions League and they delivered with a dominant performance.

Perez fired them ahead in the 29th minute with a crisp low shot from 14 metres after a fine cut-back by 19-year-old debutant Luke Thomas and Gray sealed the contest in the 79th with a clinical finish.

At Goodison Park, Villa were within touching distance of a second successive win after Ezri Konsa put them ahead in the second half.

But Theo Walcott brought Everton level in the 87th minute when his header was ruled to have crossed the line.

It was an agonising blow for Villa, who remain second bottom and sit three points from safety with just two games left.

With West Ham and Watford – the two teams directly above the relegation zone – meeting on Friday, Villa are not down yet, but they are in grave danger of an immediate return to the Championship.

No English top-flight fixture has been played more often than Everton against Villa, but it might not be on the schedule next season after the late drama.

Mbwana Samatta headed Villa's first chance well over from a good position before Jack Grealish wasted two good chances early in the second half.

Villa finally took the lead with their first shot on target in the 72nd minute.

Conor Hourihane's free-kick curled into the six-yard box and Konsa stuck out a leg to poke in his first Premier League goal.

But with time ticking down, Walcott meet a deep cross with a looping header that crept over the line with an assist from Konsa's despairing overhead attempt to clear.

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