Sir Alex Ferguson's final game as Manchester United manager ended in a crazy 5-5 Premier League draw at West Bromwich Albion.
United raced into a 5-2 lead just after the hour mark, but three goals in the last 10 minutes saw Albion snatch a point in a remarkable encounter.
Half-time substitute Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick, including the equaliser as Ferguson's farewell turned into a football farce.
But it was all smiles at the end as Ferguson and the United players, including the retiring Paul Scholes, enjoyed the noisy acclaim of the visiting supporters after full-time.
Ferguson received a guard of honour and warm applause from around the Hawthorns before kick-off.
It was a nice touch in an increasingly tribal game, but the West Bromwich respect appeared to carry over into the game.
United enjoyed almost unbroken possession and within six minutes they had the lead. Javier Hernandez chased a diagonal ball to the right touchline and delivered a perfect cross for Shinji Kagawa, who planted his downward header past former United man Ben Foster.
Moments later it was two, again from the right. Antonio Valencia drove in a pacy low cross and Jonas Olsson could only divert the ball past his goalkeeper - the sixth own goal United have profited from in the Premier League this season.
It could have been worse but for some uncharacteristically wayward finishing from Hernandez.
United went three up through the litte-used Alexander Buttner, who provided a superb finish to a flowing team move. Hernandez and Tom Cleverley helped the ball on to the Dutchman who rammed the ball into the bottom right corner.
Five minutes before half-time the increasingly competitive West Brom pulled one back after Buttner surrendered possession in his own half. Graham Dorrans crossed low for Morrison who tucked the ball past Anders Lindegaard.
Buttner and Lindegaard were among couple of the future pub quiz questions on Ferguson's final teamsheet, with Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes left on the bench and Wayne Rooney - who may not have been picked anyway - allowed to join his wife Coleen who is expecting their second child.
Lukaku, a half-time replacement for Liam Ridgewell, further reduced the arrears on 50 minutes as his sidefooted effort from the edge of the box somehow squirmed through Lindegaard's grasp.
Having seen their lead slashed, United responded through Robin van Persie, who poked a poacher's finish into the roof of the net from a Valencia cross for 4-2.
Hernandez then added further daylight when he finally got on the scoresheet when he tapped in from a Ryan Giggs cross.
But United took their eye off the ball as Scholes came on for his final game.
After 80 minutes Lukaku grabbed his second, collecting a Markus Rosenberg through ball and finishing confidently.
Forty-seven seconds later is was 5-4 as Youssouf Mulumbu slotted home from a Billy Jones pass.
And as United's defending disintegrated, Lukaku completed his hat-trick with a scrappy equaliser, forcing the ball past the flailing Lindegaard.
Though his side rarely collapsed like that, the madcap result somehow befitted a Ferguson side that were rarely predictable, got things done the hard way and always entertained.
MAN OFTHE MATCH
Romelu Lukaku (West Bromwich Albion): What a way for the on-loan striker to sign off before returning to Chelsea. Three unerring finishes, and his pace and power scared the life out of United.
WEST BROM: Foster 6, Jones 7, McAuley 7, Olsson 5, Ridgewell 5, Yacob 6, Mulumbu 7, Dorrans 7, Morrison 7, Brunt 6, Long 7... Subs: Lukaku 9, Fortune N/A, Rosenberg N/A.
MAN UTD: Lindegaard 4; Valencia 8, Jones 6, Evans 5, Buttner 7, Kagawa 7, Cleverley 7, Carrick 7, Anderson 6, Hernandez 6, Van Persie 7... Subs: Giggs 6, Scholes 6, Ferdinand N/A.
- Sports & Recreation
- West Bromwich Albion
- Romelu Lukaku
- Paul Scholes
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- Premier League
- Manchester United