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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 17:02 UK

Wigan 0-2 Man Utd

By Phil McNulty

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates putting Man Utd ahead at Wigan

Manchester United pipped rivals Chelsea to clinch their 17th title triumph with victory at Wigan.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring for United from the spot after 33 minutes following Emmerson Boyce's foul on fit-again Wayne Rooney.

Emile Heskey then wasted Wigan's best chance with a second-half header.

And substitute Ryan Giggs clinched United's Premier League triumph - his 10th - with a cool finish from Rooney's pass 10 minutes from time.

It sent manager Sir Alex Ferguson dancing down the touchline in the rain at the JJB Stadium in triumph as United were confirmed as champions, two points clear of runners-up Chelsea.

And for Giggs it was the perfect way to celebrate equalling United's appearance record of 758 games held by Sir Bobby Charlton, who was watching the game from the directors box.

Charlton was equally elated and made his way to the tunnel to embrace Giggs after the final whistle.

There were ecstatic scenes as thousands of Manchester United supporters inside the JJB celebrated a second successive title as Giggs lifted the Premier League trophy.

Carlos Queiroz says winning the title feels magic

Ferguson will now turn his attentions to winning the Double when United face Chelsea in the Champions League final in Moscow on 21 May.

Wigan were as good as their pre-match words, putting up fierce resistance before United made their superiority tell when it mattered.

United were strengthened by the return of Rooney and Nemanja Vidic after injury, but Wigan proved more than a match in a closely-fought first half.

Paul Scholes was rightly booked by referee Steve Bennett for a wild challenge on Wilson Palacios as United fought to establish a foothold, although he also posed their best early threat with a 20-yard shot which he pulled wide.

Boyce then wasted a half-chance for Wigan before Steve Bruce's side were denied what looked to be a penalty after 22 minutes when Rio Ferdinand leaned to block Jason Koumas's shot with his upper arm.

606: DEBATE
Bumbabumba

Wigan's frustration increased 11 minutes later when Bennett pointed to spot after Rooney tumbled under Boyce's challenge and Ronaldo sent Chris Kirkland the wrong way with the minimum of fuss.

Scholes was then the beneficiary of remarkable leniency from referee Bennett when, having already been booked, he blatantly blocked Palacios as he escaped down the right flank.

As the whole stadium awaited the red card, Scholes and United were relieved when Bennett only delivered a stern lecture.

The second half began in a deluge, with the pitch becoming treacherous, and Ronaldo tested Kirkland with a rising 30-yard free-kick which the keeper turned over the top.

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Bruce called the referee's decision 'outrageous'

Wigan may have felt they were due a stroke of luck, and they got one after 52 minutes when Scholes was clearly fouled by Titus Bramble but referee Bennett and his assistants this time ignored United's claims.

United were more impressive after the break as they went in search of the second goal that would virtually seal the title, but Kirkland saved brilliantly low to his right from Rooney.

Kirkland was Wigan's hero again after 58 minutes with a crucial block from Carlos Tevez's deflected shot.

United made a double change with 25 minutes left, sending on Owen Hargreaves for Scholes and Giggs for Ji-Sung Park in quick succession.

Heskey then gave United their biggest scare of the afternoon with a powerful header from Koumas's free-kick that was inches off target.

The title was on its way to Old Trafford after 80 minutes, and fittingly it was veteran Giggs who scored the clincher, taking Rooney's clever pass in his stride to slide home a composed finish from 12 yards.

United's second, plus a late equaliser for Bolton at Chelsea, sparked scenes of wild celebrations among the visiting fans who will now focus on the European Cup final in Moscow.


Wigan manager Steve Bruce:
"Paul Scholes will go down as one of United's greats. Everything about him is top, top drawer.

"But he knows he got away with it today. Had it been any other day it was another yellow card and he should have been off. You should ask the referee about his integrity, not about my team.

"Thankfully there was nothing riding on it for us but I have to say three decisions in the first half were absolutely unbelievable. To say the penalty we conceded was harsh is an understatement."


Wigan: Kirkland, Boyce, Bramble, Scharner, Figueroa, Valencia, Palacios, Brown (King 81), Koumas, Bent (Sibierski 70), Heskey.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Taylor, Skoko.

Booked: Palacios, Heskey, Valencia.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes (Hargreaves 67), Park (Giggs 68), Tevez, Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Saha, Silvestre.

Booked: Scholes, Rooney.

Goals: Ronaldo 33 pen, Giggs 80.

Att: 25,133

Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Manchester United's Ryan Giggs 8.13 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
Comment: Sir Alex adds to legend
11 May 08 |  Football
BBC pundits on the Premier League
11 May 08 |  Premier League
Tenth triumph delights Ferguson
11 May 08 |  Man Utd
Grant gracious after title blow
11 May 08 |  Premier League
How the title was won
11 May 08 |  Premier League
Title race photos
11 May 08 |  Football
Chelsea 1-1 Bolton
11 May 08 |  Premier League
Premier League finale as it happened
11 May 08 |  Premier League
Premier League photos
11 May 08 |  Football
Garth Crooks's team of the week
24 Feb 08 |  Score on BBCi


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