Wayne Rooney netted his 100th Premier League goal at Old Trafford before Marcus Rashford celebrated his England call-up by scoring during a 3-1 win in the re-arranged end-of-season fixture with AFC Bournemouth.
The sides reconvened two days on from their scheduled final-day clash being postponed when a suspicious package was found inside the stadium, prompting its evacuation.
Manchester City’s 1-1 draw at Swansea City on Sunday ended United’s hopes of beating their neighbours to fourth place and Champions League football next season – barring the fanciful notion of a 19-0 outcome in favour of Louis van Gaal’s men against the Cherries.
That prospect was certainly far removed from the reality of a dour opening period, illuminated only by a wonderful team goal that allowed Rooney to score for the first time in 10 matches across all competitions.
Teenage striker Rashford, a day after being named in Roy Hodgson’s preliminary Euro 2016 squad, played a classy role in the build-up to the opener and was on target himself with 16 minutes remaining.
Substitute Ashley Young made it 3-0, with Rooney the architect from midfield, before a Chris Smalling own goal secured a consolation strike for Bournemouth, who end their debut Premier League season in 16th position.
Despite being forced to play closer to Saturday’s FA Cup final against Crystal Palace than anticipated, Van Gaal stuck with the XI he named for the abandoned weekend encounter.
There was one alteration from Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, with Dan Gosling replacing Republic of Ireland midfielder Harry Arter.
Somewhat understandably, the match badly lacked urgency as barely a chance of note arrived during the opening half hour.
Michael Carrick, possibly playing in United colours at Old Trafford for the final time as his contract ticks down, stretched to get on the end of Rooney’s 32nd-minute free-kick but could not divert the ball past visiting goalkeeper Adam Federici.
Two minutes before half-time the deadlock was broken and in a style out of keeping with what came before.
Anthony Martial darted in field from the left and exchanged passes with Juan Mata to break into the Bournemouth box, where his low cross was deftly dummied by Rashford for Rooney to reach his landmark with a first goal since February 2.
Steve Cook was fortunate not to be penalised for a clumsy challenge on Mata inside the Bournemouth box before Carrick clattered a superb long-range strike against the crossbar in the 53rd minute.
United had belatedly located a degree of swagger and Federici tipped acrobatically over from Antonio Valencia in the 60th minute after Mata and Jesse Lingard went close in quick succession.
Rashford’s trickery was an increasingly prominent feature and he clinically dispatched Valencia’s knockdown from Rooney’s raking pass for an eighth goal of the campaign.
Young had only been on the field for three minutes when he was the beneficiary of another sumptuous Rooney pass before the unfortunate Smalling diverted Max Gradel’s shot past David de Gea to deny the United goalkeeper the Premier League Golden Gloves award.
Victory could not spare Van Gaal from a hail of boos at the start of his end-of-season address on the field, where he attempted to rally the crowd with the prospect of an FA Cup win that might not be enough to save his job.
Key Opta stats:
– Wayne Rooney netted his 100th Premier League goal at Old Trafford; only Thierry Henry at Highbury has scored more at a single ground in the competition (114).
– Only bottom side Aston Villa (76) have conceded more top-flight goals this season than Bournemouth (67, level with Norwich).
– This was Manchester United’s 19th league win this season; their joint lowest total of victories in a Premier League campaign (also 19 in 13/14)
– Anthony Martial has had a hand in 15 Premier League goals this season (11 goals, 4 assists), more than any other Manchester United player.
– Marcus Rashford has been involved in seven goals in 11 Premier League appearances for Manchester United this season (five goals, two assists).
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