Srinagar: Multiple time premier league champions, Manchester United are back in Champions League as Casemiro led the Manchester giants to 4-1 win over Chelsea to secure final Champions League spot at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Casemiro headed the hosts in front, with Anthony Martial sweeping in Jadon Sancho’s pass from close range to double their advantage.
Bruno Fernandes added United’s third from the penalty spot after being fouled by Wesley Fofana.
And another Fofana error saw Marcus Rashford score a fourth before Joao Felix’s late consolation for the Blues, who suffered their eighth defeat in 10 games under Frank Lampard and their 16th overall in a desperate campaign.
The result meant United consigned old rivals Liverpool to Europa League football next season.
For Chelsea, their sorry season – their worst in almost two decades – cannot come to an end quickly enough, although their fans have at least retained their sense of humour as they sang “we’ve scored a goal” as they celebrated Felix’s effort.
It never looked likely they would fail to get the point they needed once Casemiro had been allowed to meet Christian Eriksen’s free-kick unchallenged in a crowded penalty area to give the hosts a sixth-minute lead.
The Brazilian midfielder was the key component of a glorious second for the hosts, when he played a chipped, no-look pass beyond the Chelsea defence that allowed Sancho to present Martial with a tap-in.
Fernandes took the spot-kick himself after he had been fouled in the box 17 minutes from time, having also hit the bar and had another penalty claim turned down.
Nothing encapsulated the hapless nature of Chelsea’s season more than United’s fourth as somehow, in taking their own goal kick, the visitors presented the ball to Fernandes, who squared for Rashford to finish at the second attempt after Kepa Arrizabalaga had kept out his initial effort.
At that point, United were heading for their biggest win of the season and Chelsea their worst defeat.
Felix’s effort changed that but the hosts were still the better team.