Rio Ferdinand scored a late winner as Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team beat Swansea 2-1 in his last home game as manager. There were also victories for Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool and Newcastle.
Ferguson, 71, is retiring after more than 26 years at United during which he’s won 38 trophies, including this season’s Premier League, the club’s record-extending 20th English soccer title.
Javier Hernandez put United ahead in the 39th minute at Old Trafford yesterday before Michu’s volley tied it four minutes after half time. The game appeared to be heading for a draw when Ferdinand pounced on a loose ball from a corner kick to score the decisive goal in the 87th minute.
“Thank you to Manchester United, not just the directors, players, coaching staff, supporters, it’s all of you,” Ferguson told the crowd before the team was presented with the trophy. “It has been the most fantastic experience of my life.”
Ferguson used his address to call on the fans to give their full support to his successor, David Moyes.
“I would like to remind you this club stood by me in bad times, the players and the staff,” he said. “Your job now is to stand by the new manager.”
Ferguson later confirmed that England striker Wayne Rooney had put in a transfer request which the club had rejected. He told Sky Sports that Rooney, left out of the squad yesterday, was not keen to play because he’d asked for a move.
The game also was a home farewell for Paul Scholes, who initially quit playing in 2011 before making a comeback. Midfielder Scholes, 38, has made more than 700 appearances for United over 19 years.
United’s final league match is at West Brom on May 19.
Elsewhere, Tottenham moved back into the top four with a 2-1 win at 10-man Stoke City.
Spurs moved up one place to fourth, overtaking Arsenal, which has played one game fewer and hosts relegation-threatened Wigan tomorrow. Manchester United has 88 points, ahead of Manchester City (75), Chelsea (72), Tottenham (69) and Arsenal (67). The top four teams qualify for Europe’s elite Champions League, with the final round of games next weekend.
Steven Nzonzi gave Stoke a third-minute lead and Tottenham hit back with goals by Clint Dempsey, in the 20th minute, and Emmanuel Adebayor, in the 83rd. Stoke’s Charlie Adam was red-carded just after half-time.
Everton beat West Ham 2-0 in Moyes’s last home game before he succeeds Ferguson, while Daniel Sturridge scored a hat trick in Liverpool’s 3-1 victory at Fulham. Norwich routed West Brom 4-0, Newcastle won 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers, and Sunderland drew 1-1 with Southampton.
Already relegated QPR is in last place with 25 points. Reading, also demoted, has 28, Wigan 35 and Sunderland 39. Aston Villa, Fulham and Southampton all have 40 points.
Wigan upset Manchester City 1-0 in the F.A. Cup final two days ago, when Chelsea won 2-1 at Aston Villa in the league as Frank Lampard scored twice for the Blues to overhaul Bobby Tambling’s club record of 202. Lampard now has 203 goals.
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