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Man Utd x Stoke x: xxx

09 May 2010 18:01:08

Man Utd x Stoke x: xxx

Wayne Rooney sparked a World Cup scare when he limped out of Manchester United's 4-0 win over Stoke at Old Trafford.   Wayne pain: Rooney limped off injured against Stoke Hindered by groin and ankle problems over the final month of the campaign and with hopes of landing either the Premier League title or the Golden Boot wrecked by Chelsea's avalanche of goals at Stamford Bridge, Rooney signalled to the bench he could not continue as his side strolled to victory against Stoke.  Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed it was a recurrence of his groin problem, but believes it will not stop his top scorer going to the World Cup. Rarely can a four-goal win, achieved through DarrenFletcher, Ryan Giggs, a Danny Higginbotham own goal and Ji-sung Park,be greeted in such a downbeat manner.   There was plenty of noise at the end, although that was mainly dueto the number of whistles being blown in protest at the Glazer family'scontinued ownership.  On target: Darren Fletcher scores the opening goal of the game at Old Trafford United strode out at Old Trafford hoping for a miracle, whilstbeing realistic enough to understand dreams of this magnitude simply donot come true. By the time Giggs had turned home his 155th Red Devilsgoal, the title had been lost.    Where it all went wrong is not easy to pinpoint. Losing seven gamesis normally an insurmountable handicap but in a switchback season suchas this one, it was not necessarily so.   Stroll in the park: Giggs scores United's second en route to a comfortable 4-0 win The defeats to Chelsea did leave United with a problem, especiallythe second one, which, as it was followed immediately by a draw atBlackburn, proved pretty terminal.  Defensive injuries before Christmas undoubtedly played a major part too.   Certainly, 48 points from a possible 60 after Santa Claus squeezeddown the chimney was not a bad effort and leaves Ferguson to expressoptimism that United will be a major force next season.  United we stand: The Old Trafford fans vented their anger at the Glazers throughout Indeed, as four titles on the trot had never been done before, theRed Devils deserve some credit for taking their challenge right down tothe last day, even if it looks like a chance missed.   They had no intention of letting the little inconvenience of missing out on the major prize affect their victory charge.   From the first whistle, Ferguson's team played with purpose andintent. Nani in particular, a revelation in the second-half of theseason, took the fight straight to Stoke, who never got on the balllong enough to force themselves on their opponents, as they like to do.  On the Paul: Scholes vies for the ball with Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross Dimitar Berbatov's future continues to be debated and the Bulgarianseemed keen to round off with a goal.  Andy Wilkinson blocked agoalbound effort from the Bulgarian, who then headed a Nani left-wingcross over before the Portugal winger curled over a brilliant effortfrom the right which Berbatov thundered against the bar.   Rooney was not getting many opportunities himself and on the oneoccasion he was offered a sight of goal before half-time, Robert Huthstuck out a long leg to deny him.   By that point, United had brokentheir deadlock.   Heartbreak: despite beating Stoke, United have missed out on the Premier League title by one point Fletcher has further enhanced his reputation this season, earning awell-deserved place in the PFA Premier League team of the year.  Theone aspect he could do with improving is his goalscoring.  He has theability, judging by the neat way he turned onto the loose ball andsmacked it into the net from a yard after Nemanja Vidic's header hadstruck first Rooney, then Dean Whitehead.   Giggs has never been prolific, but he is the only person to score inevery season since the Premier League was launched in 1992. He will geta chance to extend that run next term, having signed another one-yearextension. Despite his years, he remains a hungry player and snaffledhis 155th United goal with relish after Berbatov's low cross had fallenperfectly for him.   United's attitude was admirable as Stoke's supporters rubbed in every Chelsea goal with a loud cheer of celebration.   After berating Nani for a poor cross, Rooney delivered the loweffort that Higginbotham turned into his own net as he desperatelytried to prevent a United player putting in there; Nani and Berbatovqueuing up to finish.   Rooney made his exit later on to spark the game's major talkingpoint. His replacement, Park, rounded off the scoring when he metGiggs' corner with a firm diving header.  For all the final day Premier League news For all the up-to-date Premier League scores and stats


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