Manchester United sealed a record 19th league title with a hard-fought draw against Blackburn Rovers.Wayne Rooney‘s equalising penalty in the 70th minute sparked celebrations among the huge away following at Ewood Park as they grabbed yet another Premier League title.
It was also a momentous occasion for United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who finally overhauled the number of titles won by rivals Liverpool, just as he vowed to do when he took the Old Trafford hotseat 25 years ago.
But while it was unfounded joy for the travelling fans, the result leaves Blackburn looking nervously over their shoulder at the wrong end of the table despite a heroic performance against the champions.
Steve Kean’s team now face a potential survival shootout at relegation rivals Wolves on the last day of the season.
A chance came almost straight away for United after Rooney whipped in a superb cross from the right but Nani‘s header crashed against the crossbar.
Blackburn gave the Reds a fright in the 18th minute when Chris Samba had the ball in the back of the net but he was penalised by referee Phil Dowd for shoving Nemanja Vidic.
Just two minutes later the hosts took the lead after Tomasz Kuszczack – replacing Edwin van der Sar – came off his line to fend off Brett Emerton’s cross.
But the ball wasn’t cleared and Martin Olsson was able to send a cross to the far post where Emerton put it past the nervous keeper.
Another Kuszczack error could have proved fatal, with the Pole taking too long to clear a back pass, giving David Hoilet the chance to slide in and stab the ball just wide.
Following the break, Ryan Giggs fed a well placed shot through two defenders to Hernandez who was running into the box, but the Mexican couldn’t get it under control.
Manchester United slowly increased the pressure but Blackburn’s defence held out.
A blistering strike by Nani was deflected off Chris Samba‘s chest and when Valencia found Giggs, Phil Jones threw himself in front of the winger’s shot.
At the other end, Olsson made a magnificent climb to head Emerton’s cross but he hit the top of the near post.
But United got the point they needed in the 70th minute when Hernandez chased the ball into the area but Robinson made a late challenge and the striker came crashing down.
After a minute-long consultation with his assistant, Dowd awarded the penalty and Rooney converted the spot-kick to rapturous cheers from the away stand.