By Kevin Baxter
3:38 PM EDT, May 12, 2013
Sir Alex Ferguson's last match as manager at Old Trafford, Manchester's famed "Theatre of Dreams," ended the only way it could have Sunday — with a Manchester United victory.
Rio Ferdinand volleyed home the tie-breaking goal in the 86th minute to lift the Red Devils over Swansea, 2-1, sending the 71-year Ferguson bounding out of his dugout seat, pounding his fist in the air.
Javier Hernandez scored United's first goal in the 39th minute before Michu equalized for Swansea 10 minutes later.
Ferguson announced Wednesday that he was stepping down after an unparalleled 26-year career as United's coach. Ferguson won a record 13 English Premier League titles during that time, turning United into one of the richest and most recognized sports brands in the world.
The win capped a festive day for the coach and his players, one that began with both teams forming a guard of honor that Ferguson walked through as he entered the pitch. Ferguson, clearly emotional, applauded the sellout crowd as he made his way to the sidelines, where he signed autographs for the fans closest to the United dugout.
And the game, played under typically dreary Manchester skies, might also have been the last home match for two other United legends. Ferguson confirmed after the match that disenchanted striker Wayne Rooney, who didn't dress for the Swansea game, has asked for a transfer while 38-year-old Paul Scholes said last week that he, like Ferguson, would retire after United's game at West Bromwich Albion next weekend.
It is the second time Rooney has asked to leave United, the first having come in 2010. The English national team star relented that time, signing a five-year contract with the team. This time his future will be determined by former Everton manager David Moyes, who will take over at Old Trafford on July 1.
Scholes first retired after the 2010-11 season before returning the following January, saying he missed soccer. Sidelined the last four months with a knee injury, Scholes played 66 minutes Sunday before leaving to a raucous ovation from the 76,000 fans. The appearance was Scholes' 717th for the Red Devils — and he said there would be no second-thoughts about retirement this time.
"I am finally hanging up my boots for good," he said "Playing football is all I have ever wanted to do, and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United, under the greatest manager of all time, has been an honor."
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