Football Leeds promoted to top flight, West Ham edge toward EPL survival

Leeds promoted to top flight, West Ham edge toward EPL survival

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Leeds United have been promoted to the English Premier League after a 16-year absence.

Second-placed West Brom’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield on Friday night means second-tier Championship leaders Leeds are assured of a top-two finish with two games remaining.

Leeds moved on to 87 points on Thursday following their 1-0 home win against Barnsley.

West Brom, who remain on 82 points, have one game remaining and will drop out of the automatic promotion places if Brentford avoid defeat at Stoke on Saturday.

It has been a long and often tortuous road back for Leeds, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 amid a spectacular financial meltdown.

The West Yorkshire club have spent 13 seasons in the Championship and three in League One after dropping into the third tier for the first time in their history in 2007.

Socceroos great Harry Kewell started as a youth player at Leeds before starring for the senior team between 1995-2003.

Fellow Australia legend Mark Viduka also featured in the club’s forward line from 2000-2004.

Kewell scored 45 goals in 181 appearances, while Viduka notched 59 in 130 matches.

Meanwhile, West Ham have taken a massive step toward maintaining their Premier League status after defeating fellow strugglers Watford 3-1 on Friday (Saturday AEST).

Michail Antonio, Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice scored the goals on Friday as the Hammers moved six points clear of the relegation zone with just two games to go.

West Ham were 2-0 up in 10 minutes through Antonio and Soucek, then Rice extended their lead nine minutes before the break, leaving Troy Deeney’s second-half goal as a mere consolation for Watford.

“Tonight is massive,” Rice said.

“We have had a week to prepare, the fans were nervous and I am so happy for them.

“We cannot say we’re safe yet because it’s not mathematically done. It’s not over until the final day.

“Special mention to the manager because to get three wins in five is something we’re proud of as a team,” Rice added.

With a superior goal difference, West Ham look safe, but Watford remain in trouble just three points above the drop zone.

Nigel Pearson’s side have now lost five away games in a row, and with games against Manchester City and Arsenal to come, they will be looking over their shoulders at Bournemouth and Aston Villa, each of whom could overtake them.

-with agencies