Former Manchester United player Wilfried Zaha scored the game-winning goal as Crystal Palace defeated Manchester United on the final day at Selhurst Park.
Erik ten Hag, the new manager of Manchester United, was in the stands observing. He would not have been thrilled to see the tourists being trounced. Man United finish sixth when West Ham loses to Brighton.
United finish with 58 points, the fewest they have ever had in the Premier League.
Ralf Rangnick’s last move as manager was to give Hannibal Mejbri his first league start, and there were numerous other young players on the bench, including Robbie Savage’s son Charlie.
Patrick Vieira moved his pack as well, and youngster Jesurun Rak-Sakyi was handed his entire debut for Palace, who had a bad night at Goodison Park on Thursday when they let a two-goal lead slip and had their manager get into an argument with a supporter after full time.
United had the stronger start, with Conor Gallagher saving a Bruno Fernandes attempt before Edinson Cavani’s scuffed drive was parried away by a wrong-footed Vicente Guaita minutes later.
The visitors knew that a win in front of new manager Ten Hag would ensure them a spot in the Europa League next season, and the stalemate should have been broken in the 25th minute when Cavani set Anthony Elanga away, but he pulled wide from inside the penalty area.
Palace were startled into action following that chance, with the hosts missing two chances of their own shortly after.
Following a brilliant Odsonne Edouard pass, Jeffrey Schlupp blasted straight at the Spanish goalkeeper after David De Dea rejected Zaha’s left-footed drive.
The opening did come with eight minutes remaining in the first half, and it was given by ex-United star Zaha, but only after a great assist from Fernandes.
Fernandes deflected Alex Telles’ pass towards his own goal, and Zaha pounced onto the loose ball, drew Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof away from him, and rifled into the bottom corner for his 15th goal of the season.
After the half, United improved, and former Monaco forward Mejbri tried all he could to get the visitors back into the game.
Joel Ward’s excellent defense denied the youngster when he sprinted into the area and his curling shot was pushed over by Guaita.
Rangnick withdrew Mejbri shortly beyond the hour mark, and it might have been 2-0 by then had Conor Gallagher – making the penultimate appearance of his season-long loan – curled his drive inside the post from 20 yards.
Rangnick brought two more Under-23s, Shola Shoretire and Alejandro Garnacho, although the latter was unable to connect with Fernandes’ cross late on.
The last opportunity went to Scott McTominay in stoppage time, but he blazed wide to illustrate the magnitude of the challenge ahead of Ten Hag, who formally takes over on Monday, while Palace finish a successful first season under Vieira in 12th place.