LONDON, May 10 – Winston Reid’s 80th-minute header harpooned Manchester United’s Champions League qualification hopes as West Ham United crowned their final Boleyn Ground match with a thrilling 3-2 triumph on Tuesday.
Manchester United, whose bus was attacked en route to the ground, had come from behind to lead 2-1 after Anthony Martial’s brace negated Diafra Sakho’s 10th-minute opener.
But Michail Antonio equalised with a bullet header in the 76th minute before West Ham captain Reid smuggled a header past visiting goalkeeper David de Gea to bring the 2,398th and final game at the east London ground to a crashing crescendo.
The result left United in fifth place in the Premier League and means that they can only pip Manchester City to fourth place if they win at home to Bournemouth on Sunday and City lose at Swansea City.
That unlikely scenario confronts under-pressure United manager Louis van Gaal with the unwanted consolation of a Europa League berth, although his side also face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.
His opposite number, Slaven Bilic, was left to celebrate a first league win over United in 15 attempts, which took West Ham back above Southampton and into a Europa League slot.
But while the manner of victory was a fitting send-off for the 112-year-old ground, ahead of West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium, it was marred by pre-match scenes that saw the United bus pelted with cans and bottles.
It resulted in a 45-minute delay to kick-off, and there were further scenes of disorder when De Gea had bottles thrown at him following Martial’s equaliser.
United were boosted by the returns of Martial and Marcus Rashford — the former having missed Saturday’s 1-0 win at Norwich City with a hamstring problem, while the latter was rested — but they barely had time to draw breath as West Ham surged ahead.
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Aaron Cresswell’s pass down the inside-left channel found Manuel Lanzini running in behind Juan Mata and from his pull-back, Sakho’s shot clipped Daley Blind and found the bottom-left corner.
After Angelo Ogbonna and Dimitri Payet had threatened, Andy Carroll spurned a gilt-edged chance when, having been sent clean through by Payet, he shot straight at De Gea.
Moments later Antonio headed in a cross from Mark Noble, only for his celebration to be cut short by a linesman’s flag indicating that the ball had already gone out for a corner.
Lanzini drilled wide, Payet shanked over after Noble had robbed Martial and when the visitors finally created a chance, Wayne Rooney crossing dangerously towards Rashford, Ogbonna intervened.
Seeking greater control in midfield, Van Gaal introduced Michael Carrick for Morgan Schneiderlin at the interval and within five minutes his team were level.
De Gea’s goal-kick reached Rashford, whose pass found the overlapping Juan Mata, and the Spaniard darted past Ogbonna before squaring for Martial to tap in his 16th goal of the season.
After Sakho had squandered a great chance for West Ham by turning Payet’s free-kick over the bar, Martial put United in front by skinning Reid and dinking a shot inside Darren Randolph’s near post.
But Upton Park’s final chapter was not yet written and after Payet had picked out Antonio to send a bullet header past De Gea, the Frenchman crossed for Reid to notch a winning goal that left the rafters quivering.