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Barnes, Vardy doubles put Leicester back on track

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy each scored twice as Leicester strengthened their challenge for a place in the Champions League next season with a 4-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on Monday.

Brendan Rodgers's men had won just one of their previous seven Premier League games, but remain in third and restored an eight-point advantage over fifth-placed Manchester United in the battle for a top-four finish.

Defeat leaves Villa rooted in the relegation zone and there was little from the visitors to suggest they can save themselves in the final 10 games of the season.

No side has conceded more goals in the Premier League this season than Villa. It was easy to see why Leicester as passed up a host of simple chances from poorly defended set-pieces early on.

Pepe Reina blocked Jonny Evans's downward header before Kelechi Iheanacho and Caglar Soyuncu headed wastefully off target.

Reina was a spectator when Villa stunned Leicester to reach the League Cup final in January and Dean Smith's decision to recall the Spaniard in place of Orjan Nyland backfired for the opening goal five minutes before half-time.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper raced well outside his box, but was beaten to the ball by the pace of Barnes, who kept his cool to fire into an unguarded net.

Iheanacho then missed a great chance to double Leicester's lead early in the second half and the Nigerian may find himself back on the sidelines in the weeks to come as Vardy refound his scoring touch.

The former England striker started on the bench as he returned from injury and had only been on the field four minutes when he grabbed his first goal in 10 games from the penalty spot after Tyrone Mings was adjudged to have handled Barnes's cross.

Vardy was back in the groove and doubled his tally 11 minutes from time when he found space at Reina's near post to move two goals clear in the race for the Premier League golden boot.

Barnes then also smashed home his second of the evening from Marc Albrighton's low cross.

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