By Lee Savery.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1500th and last match as Manchester United manager was a ten goal thriller at the Hawthorns.
An emotional match it was always going to be with it being Ferguson’s last match. The home side did a guard of honour for the United manager as the whole of the Hawthorns applauded him. This was also Paul Scholes’ last game, who also got an applause from the whole ground when he came on as a second half substitute.
In the first half it seemed an ominous procession to a victory everyone expected. After just five minutes, Shinji Kagawa headed in from a Javier Hernandez cross, at the near post. Four minutes later, a low cross from Antonio Valencia was turned into his own net by Albion defender Jonas Olsson.
On the half hour mark, Alexander Buttner struck a low finish inside the penalty area after a superb passing move. 3-0 and it looked so easy. However, the first sign of a West Brom fightback started when James Morrison finished from close range, after a cross from the right.
Steve Clarke brought on loan striker Romelu Lukaku on for the second half and, within five minutes, he was on the scoresheet. A curling effort from 20 yards somehow went past Anders Lindegaard who probably should have done better.
United did hit back three minutes later when Robin van Persie turned in Valencia’s cross from the right. His 26th goal of the season, in the league. The Golden Boot being well and truly Van Persie’s.
Ryan Giggs also came on for the manager’s final game and it was his cross, just past the hour, from the left, that was turned in by Javier Hernandez who finally got the goal he had deserved after missing a number of chances all game.
5-2 but the home side were not allowing a party to go ahead on their ground as they scored three goals to earn themselves a deserved point. Two goals on 81 minutes stunned The Hawthorns. Firstly, Lukaku’s second when he finished from close range before Youssouf Mulumbu turned in a cross from the right with the United defence in tatters.
The equaliser was seemingly inevitable and Lukaku got his hat trick when he bundled home, with a header on the ground and on the goal line after substitute Rio Ferdinand tried his hardest to stop the Belgian from scoring.
It was an incredible game to finish off a title winning season for United. Ferguson’s 1500th will be remembered for just more than being the Scot’s last match. Thank you for everything Sir Alex Ferguson.
United line-up: Lindegaard, Jones, Evans (Ferdinand – 83′ ), Buttner, Valencia, Anderson, Carrick, Cleverley (Giggs – 60′ ), Kagawa (Scholes – 69′ Booked), Hernandez, Van Persie. Unused Substitutes: De Gea, Evra, Vidic, Januzaj.
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