An own-goal blunder by the Baggies' Jonas Olsson could have ultimately been the difference between a win and a draw for West Brom, but regardless, the Baggies should be satisfied with the match's outcome.
The Red Devils dominated the possession 65 to 35 percent, but were out-shot 19-16 and saw Romelu Lukaku come off the bench and spark his club with a hat-trick.
Shinji Kagawa got the scoring going for the Red Devils in the sixth minute to give Manchester United the early 1-0 edge (via Premier League on Twitter):
GOAL West Brom 0-1 Man Utd (6 mins). The champions are ahead, Shinji Kagawa heading in a fine Javier Hernandez cross from the right. #WBAMUN— Premier League (@premierleague) May 19, 2013
Roughly three minutes later, West Brom defenseman Jonas Olsson gave the Red Devils the significant upper-hand when he scored an own goal on an Antonio Valencia cross that put United up by two goals (via Manchester United Action):
9' GOAL!! Two for United as Antonio Valencia drives a low cross in from the right and Jonas Olsson diverts the ball into his own net!— Manchester United (@manutd_action) May 19, 2013
After an Alexander Buttner goal put United ahead 3-0, the Baggies came storming back with two goals of their own by James Morrison (40') and Romelu Lukaku (50') to cut the Red Devils' lead to just one goal. Lukaku's goal not only put West Brom one goal closer, but it was also a personal feat for the forward as well (via Infostrada Sports):
West Brom 2-3 Man United: Romelu Lukaku equals West Brom's PL scoring record of 15 goals set by Peter Odemwingie in 2010-11. #wba— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) May 19, 2013
Again, it looked as if Manchester United would pull away, as stars Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez each found the back of the net in the second half to extend the Red Devils' lead in a 5-2 match, but again, the Baggies fought back.
Lukaku netted another goal while Youssuf Mulumbu scored as well to put West Brom within one goal of the EPL champs. Then, in the 86th minute, Lukaku completed a hat-trick to tie the match at five and complete an improbable comeback for the Baggies (h/t Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror):
5-5. Absolutely incredible finish to this game. Just make that absolutely incredible game. Lukaku with the equaliser— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) May 19, 2013
Lukaku and West Brom certainly played spoiler on Saturday in Ferguson's final day as manager of Manchester United. Although United didn't come up with the victory, BBC Sport showed its respect for the historic manager via Twitter:
Sir Alex Ferguson failed to win his first, and last games in charge of Man Utd - but the 1498 in-between proved more noteworthy #bbcfootball— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 19, 2013
Grades (Subs denoted in bold)
|F||Robin Van Persie||B+|
Javier Hernandez (A)
Midfielder Javier Hernandez was brilliant for Manchester United on Saturday, helping the club get the scoring going and aiding in helping the Red Devils draw a tie with West Brom.
Hernandez recorded the assist on Kagawa's sixth-minute goal that gave the Red Devils a 1-0 lead and capped off an excellent match by scoring in the 63rd minute that made it 5-2 in favor of United.
While the Red Devils couldn't hold the large lead, Hernandez isn't to blame.
Romelu Lukaku (A+)
As West Brom's leading scorer, Romelu Lukaku had to be a factor in this match for the Baggies if they were going to have any shot at taking down powerhouse Manchester United.
Lukaku's 50th-minute goal off the bench put the Baggies within one goal of the Red Devils after falling down early 3-0.
From there, he took over the second half and led the charge for West Bromwich, scoring in the 80th and 86th minutes to knot the match at five apiece. The Baggies couldn't have asked for a better performance as a sub from their star scorer.
Alexander Buttner (B+)
Alexander Buttner came through with what turned out to be an important goal for the Red Devils.
Although Buttner's 30th-minute goal seemed to potentially put the match out of reach, the Baggies would go on to score the next two goals, which would have tied this match had Buttner not found the back of the net.
Without that goal, the Baggies' continued momentum could have resulted in a loss for Sir Alex Ferguson in his final match as manager.
As the season came to a close, these two clubs both have some work to do in the offseason.
For Manchester United, it'll look to establish a new era and identity with Sir Alex Ferguson departing after more than two decades at the head of the Red Devils.
Under Ferguson's guidance, United captured 13 league titles and established United as the powerhouse of soccer. It's safe to say David Moyes has enormous shoes to fill.
For West Brom, it'll look to add pieces to its club after finishing eighth in the EPL table, with 48 points. The good news for the Baggies is that star Shane Long plans on staying with West Brom, according to the Express & Star.
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