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Man United stands alone
Red Devils seize Premier League title
Posted: Monday May 17, 1999 02:35 PM
LONDON (AP) -- One down and two to go for Manchester United.
Substitute Andy Cole's goal in the 47th minute gave Manchester United a 2-1 win Sunday over Tottenham to bring the side a fifth Premier League title in seven seasons.
Two more trophies await.
United faces Newcastle on Saturday in the FA Cup final at Wembley and then goes against Bayern Munich in Barcelona May 26 for the European Champions Cup, the continent's most important club prize and one United has won only once -- in 1968.
No English club has ever won all three in one season.
Defending champion Arsenal, which trailed the Reds by a point entering the final day of play, needed for Manchester United to lose or draw to have any chance.
Arsenal did its part, defeating Aston Villa 1-0 at the Gunners' North London ground as Nwankwo Kanu scored in a goal-mouth scramble in the 66th. The Gunners ended the season with 78 points -- the same as last season when they won the league and cup double -- to 79 for Manchester United.
Cole's winning goal, breaking a 1-1 draw, was as spectacular as the result it brought before a 55,000 sellout at Manchester's Old Trafford.
Cole -- coming off the bench to start the second half - took a long arching pass off the right wing from Gary Neville, touched it twice to settle after taking the ball on the fly over his shoulder, then lobbed over the head of Tottenham goalkeeper Ian Walker from 10 yards.
Ferguson's five titles equal the mark of the legendary coach Matt Busby, and Busby was also the last United coach to win the European Champions Cup.
"I always wanted one day to win the championship at Old Trafford and we've done it," Ferguson said.
Ferguson termed the European Champions Cup game "the big one for me" but said the toughest game was over.
"This was the hardest," he said. "We'll go down the road to Wembley [FA Cup final], we're gonna go there to win ... and go to Barcelona and enjoy it."
Ferguson, who sent Cole on for Teddy Sheringham, smiled when asked about the move. "I had a feeling Andy would score. I thought we did well in the first half and I fancied our chances in the second half."
Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, who is leaving United to play next season in another European league where the schedule is easier, said the side would be ready for the F.A. Cup.
"I've been in a situation where we had an FA Cup final the Sunday after we didn't win the league, and we went to the FA Cup final feeling down," he said.
"This time around we won the league and you go into the FA Cup final with a completely different mental attitude.
"I think it is possible to win that, and what comes after that we'll just have to wait and see."
Arsenal, which dominated Aston Villa -- particularly in the first half -- figured to be in for a good day when its North London archrivals Tottenham took a 1-0 lead over Manchester United on a 24th-minute goal By Les Ferdinand as he lobbed a 20-yard shot over the head of United goalkeeper Schmeichel.
Never has a Tottenham goal -- the Gunners' archrival -- touched off such wild cheers at Arsenal's Highbury ground, where almost every fan seemed to be listening to a radio or talking on a mobile telephone.
But Manchester United's David Beckman equalized in the 42nd with a 15-yard, rising shot from the right side that he leaped high, hands waving, to celebrate.
Arsenal's popular French coach Arsene Wenger congratulated Manchester United and his own players.
"We lost only four games, of course the nearest one is Leeds [a 1-0 loss May 11] where we should have won," Wenger said.
"We just congratulate Man U, they had a great season as well," he added. "I can say I'm proud of my players, they made 78 points today again, we had the best defense in Europe, and we lost only four games and had an outstanding season. Unfortunately, it was not enough, but 78 points over two seasons it a remarkable performance."
In the battle at the bottom of the league for the final relegation spot of three, Southampton stayed up with a 2-0 home win over Everton. Charlton was demoted -- joining Blackburn and Nottingham Forest -- after a 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday.In games Sunday: Newcastle 1, Blackburn 1; Liverpool 3, Wimbledon 0; Arsenal 1, Aston Villa 0; West Ham 4, Middlesbrough 0; Chelsea 2, Derby 1; Nottingham Forest 1, Leicester 0; Manchester United 2, Tottenham 1; Charlton 0, Sheffield Wednesday 1; Coventry 2, Leeds 2; Southampton 2, Everton 0.
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