Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Ferguson claims victory in home finale

Sir Alex Ferguson guided Manchester United to victory in his final game at Old Trafford

Rio Ferdinand crashed home the winning goal three minutes from time to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford a winner as Manchester United beat Swansea 2-1 before being presented with the Premier League trophy.

In his final team selection at the ground where he has presided over an incredible 405 Premier League fixtures, Ferguson did not change the habit of a lifetime and opt for the easy route. Wayne Rooney was dropped but his replacement Javier Hernandez put the hosts ahead.

Michu turned home his 21st goal of an incredible debut campaign just after the break to equalise but Ferdinand's late strike allowed Ferguson to leave Old Trafford in the most appropriate manner possible.

Hernandez chipped an early effort against the bar that had been supplied by Robin van Persie but it was the Mexican who drove home his 17th goal of the season to put the hosts ahead after Ashley Williams had made a hash of trying to clear Van Persie's free-kick.

It was all slightly unfortunate for Swansea, the obligatory guests at a party no-one wanted to speak to them at, other than to lambast them if they threatened to get in the way.

And that was exactly what they did five minutes into the second half, when United found themselves under pressure, failed to clear a corner and allowed Nathan Dyer to drill over a low cross from the right. It hardly needed saying Michu would be the danger-man in such situations as he slottted home.

Pablo Hernandez brought an excellent save out of David de Gea, Wayne Routledge almost got the better of Ferdinand to force his way through and Dyer was a menace to United's defence.

They held firm though, and Anderson almost put the hosts back in front when he drilled a low shot wide 20 minutes from time.

The Brazilian had replaced Paul Scholes not long before, quite possibly marking the end of the 38-year-old's entire career. In truth, it was not one of Scholes' most effective displays, although there were a few sublime passes and a typically thunderous first-half challenge on Routledge.

But the standing ovation he received was for a career that will see him rightly go down as the finest player of his generation.

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