Sir Alex Ferguson era ends with wacky draw

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Sir Alex Ferguson managed the final match of his career away from Old Trafford, and it looked set to complete on a high note, until the opposition had other ideas.

Having already secured his 13th Premier League title, Ferguson’s squad squandered a 3-goal lead for just the third time under his command (and twice in the match) as they played West Brom to a crazy 5-5 draw.  It was exactly Ferguson’s 1,500th match in charge of Manchester United.

It was the first 5-5 draw in the Barclays Premier League, and the first in the English top flight since 1984 when Queens Park Rangers drew Newcastle.  It was also the second-highest scoring match in Premier League history with the 10 combined goals.

Here’s a few snippets to give an idea of how odd this match was: loanee Romelu Lukaku, on possibly his last appearance with West Brom before he could return to Chelsea, grabbed a hat trick…as a halftime substitute.  The two teams combined for 37 shots, just 12 on target, meaning only 2 shots on target failed to hit the back of the net. Finally, with United defenders Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, and Rio Ferdinand all on the bench, the Red Devils conceded 3 goals in the final 10 minutes as West Brom stunned the visitors and shared the points.

It wasn’t just the end for Sir Alex either.  Paul Scholes came on in the 69th minute to replace Shinji Kagawa in the final showing of the Englishman’s illustrious career.  At 38 years of age, it was the 498th appearance in the Premier League for the man who Zinedine Zidane once called “the best midfielder of his generation.”

Sir Alex didn’t go out without another attempt at continuing the Manchester United youth assembly line.  He handed Belgian teen and United youth product Adnan Junzaj his first appearance on the team sheet, albeit as an unused sub.

The point, combined with Swansea’s 3-0 home defeat to Fulham, gave West Brom an 8th place finish in the table.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

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The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

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The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

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On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.