Manchester United were denied the title in cruel fashion after doing their job with a victory at Sunderland.

Behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table on goal difference, the Red Devils knew a favour was needed from QPR to lift the trophy once again.

And it appeared former striker Mark Hughes might have done the trick with the Hoops, as they led moving into injury-time at the Etihad Stadium.

Sir Alex Ferguson knew his side had to focus on the task in-hand at the Stadium of Light however, and would have been happy with the response of his players as Wayne Rooney’s 20th minute header gave the visitors the lead.

Wayne Rooney hit the crossbar with a free-kick and Paul Scholes hit the post as United kept the pressure on Martin O’Neill’s side throughout, and as the full-time whistle went Ferguson thought the 13th Premier League title was coming back to Old Trafford.

However, Edin Dzeko had headed home an equaliser for City just before the game was over on Wearside, and then Sergio Aguero smashed home a dramatic goal to deny United.

Heads can be held high after a fine final performance, with United knowing the title wasn’t lost today but in the 4-4 draw against Everton a fortnight ago.

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