United’s reign as Barclays Premier League champions is over, despite a battling victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, as Manchester City took the title on goal difference in the cruellest of fashions.
Wayne Rooney’s early header ensured the Reds ended the season on 89 points, and it looked as though Sir Alex's men were destined for an unlikely triumph as City struggled against 10-man QPR at the Etihad Stadium.
The Blues trailed 2-1 going into injury-time, only for quickfire strikes from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero to end City's 44-year wait to become champions. In a remarkable turnaround, United were champions when the game finished at the Stadium of Light, only for City's late comeback to snatch the title a minute later.
City’s win over Mark Hughes’ side meant the only other way United could retain the title was by bagging double figures against the Black Cats. Though a handful of chances went begging, Rooney's early header was the only time Sir Alex Ferguson's side beat Simon Mignolet.
There was a surprise starter in the United ranks, as Jonny Evans rejoined Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence, despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s confirmation that the Northern Ireland international would require ankle surgery over the summer.
Despite United’s greater need and obvious urgency in possession, it was the hosts who had the first two efforts of the game. James McClean’s dribbling effort forced little work from David De Gea, who was exercised harder by David Vaughan’s powerful effort from 25 yards.