Wayne Rooney’s second-half penalty secured the title-winning point in a hard-fought encounter with Blackburn at Ewood Park, but even when it comes to making history, the Reds insist on going about it the hard way.
A 19th domestic crown was only sealed by Rooney’s 73rd minute spot-kick after Brett Emerton had fired Rovers ahead, and the hosts might have established a two-goal lead at Ewood Park when Martin Olsson headed against Tomasz Kuszczak’s post.
United had started the afternoon brightly. As the prospect of becoming champions dangled before them, the visitors started with purpose; popping passes around and bossing possession. Less than four minutes had passed when the first chance arrived, but Nani could only thump a header against Paul Robinson’s crossbar from Rooney’s tantalising cross.
Blackburn seldom held the ball inside the first 15 minutes, but they might have taken the lead when Christopher Samba sliced wastefully over the bar from Junior Hoilett’s pull-back, and then did forge ahead in sloppy circumstances through Emerton.
The Australian’s chip was touched away by Kuszczak, but Olsson retrieved the ball before it crossed the byline, exchanged passes with Hoilett and picked out Emerton at the back post to steer a fine finish back across goal.
Though the Darwen End had resounded with a choral onslaught from the travelling support, nerves were suddenly jangling. The hosts, in stark contrast,