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Nightmare season finally over for United

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored twice as relegated Cardiff City won on their final Premier League appearance to heap more misery on Manchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer

Mendez-Laing opened the scoring for Cardiff from the penalty spot after being brought down in the box by Diogo Dalot, before scoring his second after the break.

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge proved the visitors’ hero as he foiled several United chances on a frustrating day for the hosts, who fielded six academy graduates.

Defeat means United have won just one of their final seven games of the season as city rivals Manchester City won the Premier League title for the second season in succession.

Cardiff travelled to Old Trafford just a week after confirmation of their relegation to the Championship and looked set to bid farewell to the top flight with a whimper as United dominated the opening exchanges.

But it was United who finished the match with their tails between their legs, unable to defy a resolute Bluebirds defence as they rained chance after chance on Etheridge’s goal.

Cardiff’s victory was their first over Manchester United since 3 April, 1954, when manager Neil Warnock was just five years old.

With Europa League status secured for next season, this campaign proved one to forget for United as they look to rebuild over the summer.

Ander Herrera confirmed this week he would leave the club after a five-year stay, and the exit door at Old Trafford could be busy with Antonio Valencia also departing.

Solskjaer looked to have turned United’s fortunes around as they went 12 league games unbeaten after his arrival.

But the wave they were riding crashed in March, and the Norwegian will spend the summer building his own team rather than the one he inherited from Jose Mourinho in December.

But while he will be keen to bring in players from elsewhere, the club’s youngsters will no doubt be much involved next season.

At 17 years and 223 days, Mason Greenwood became the youngest player to start a Premier League game for the Red Devils, and he more than showed his potential against Cardiff as the sole ray of sunshine in a gloomy United performance.

He had a handful of chances to score, twice going close with headers before Mendez-Laing scored his first and testing Etheridge not long after with a deflected effort on goal.

Eighteen-year-old Angel Gomes came off the bench late on with he and Greenwood scuffing chances to pull something back for United as they end the season in sixth, 32 points adrift of champions Manchester City. — BBC Sport