Manchester United lose out to City on dramatic final day

Sunderland 0 Manchester United 1

Wayne Rooney's first-half winner proved insufficient for Manchester United as Manchester City's stoppage-time double snatched the Barclays Premier League title away from them.

United went into injury time at Sunderland leading 1-0 and with City trailing 2-1 to 10-man QPR at the Etihad Stadium.

By the time the final whistle sounded at the Stadium of Light City had levelled, but the celebrations on Wearside had barely started when Sergio Aguero saved Roberto Mancini's men at the death to clinch a first title for the Blues in 44 years.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his players trudged back to the dressing room knowing they had been so close at the end of a remarkable season, but it was the home fans who stayed behind to cheer their heroes on a day when victory and defeat ultimately counted for little for either club.

United might have won significantly more comfortably on the day had it not been for the woodwork and Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet, but they could have emerged with just a point after they failed to dispatch Sunderland with old boy Fraizer Campbell passing up a glorious opportunity to level.

For much of the opening 45 minutes, there was little doubt about how events would unfold on Wearside with the visitors dominating for long periods and creating enough chances to have held up their end of the bargain by the time the whistle sounded for the break.

In the event, they led by a single goal, courtesy of Rooney's close-range 20th-minute header from full-back Phil Jones' cross.

The England striker might have claimed a hat-trick inside 14 minutes, but he saw his free-kick come back off the crossbar on the half-hour and then uncharacteristically miskicked with the goal at his mercy four minutes later when Ashley Young's wayward shot arrived perfectly for him.

With 37-year-old Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, 38, running the game from midfield, it seemed only a matter of time before United increased their lead and wrapped up the win.

Mignolet had also had to beat away a well-struck effort from Giggs but as time ran down, the home side started to make an impression.

Their best chance fell to Campbell as he ran on to Stephane Sessegnon's 36th-minute cross, but to the relief of Ferguson, the man who sold him to Sunderland, he steered his volley wide of the post.

However, the mood at the Stadium of Light changed as news of City's opener started to filter around to wildly differing responses from the respective sets of supporters.

Antonio Valencia might have lifted the descending gloom for the travelling fans in injury time when he forced a decent save from Mignolet, but Ferguson's men headed for the dressing room knowing their fate was being decided elsewhere.

United returned determined to kill off the game as quickly as possible, and might have done so within two minutes when Valencia slid Rooney in only for Mignolet to deny him with a brave block.

But the fans behind the Belgian's goal were celebrating within seconds when news of QPR's equaliser sparked a delirious reaction.

Jones glanced a 50th-minute header just wide, but the home side were appealing in vain for a penalty two minutes after substitute Ahmed Elmohamady was bundled to the ground by Jonny Evans in pursuit of James McClean's cross.

Sunderland were enjoying their best period of the game as United found themselves having to defend deep and in numbers.

But it would have been 2-0 with 59 minutes gone had Craig Gardner not thrown himself into the path of Young's volley from Valencia's teasing cross.

Young tested Mignolet at his near post with a driven cross five minutes later with the tension rising, although there were joyous scenes on the terraces when the travelling fans heard of QPR's second goal.

United were unfortunate not to increase their lead with 14 minutes regaining when Scholes smashed a volley against the foot of the post and Mignolet recovered superbly to tip Giggs' follow-up over the bar.

But as the time ebbed away, the United fans could hardly contain themselves, hoping no news from the blue half of the city was good news.

Rooney clipped the outside of the post with a last-minute free-kick and the partying was just about to start when the worst possible news arrived for those of a red persuasion.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high