Aston Villa becomes first team to suffer relegation this season after Man United eke out 1-0 win
London: Aston Villa were relegated from the English Premier League after a 1-0 loss away to Manchester United on Saturday.
Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood reacts at the end of the match. Pic/AFP
Teenage rising star Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of a game that left bottom-of-the table-Villa 15 points shy of safety, with only a maximum of 12 now available to the Birmingham club from their remaining four league matches this season.
First time in 29 years
Defeat meant Villa were relegated from the top-flight of English football for the first time in 29 years.
Villa, under the caretaker charge of Eric Black after former manager Remi Garde was sacked last month, have been in the Premier League continually since its foundation in 1992. But 18-year-old striker Rashford's 32nd minute goal — his seventh in 12 games — condemned them to the drop.
Rashford shone in a largely pedestrian United performance as his superb finish gave him a seventh goal in 12 first-team appearances.
Man United striker Marcus Rashford (extreme left) celebrates his goal with teammates during their EPL match against Aston Villa in Manchester on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
United survived a couple of late scares, including Villa hitting the woodwork, although a draw would still have seen the visitors demoted to the Championship.
Managerless Villa were happy to sit back and soak up United pressure early on and Louis van Gaal's side, having been handed the territorial initiative, had two chances from set-pieces in the opening 10 minutes.
First United defender Chris Smalling failed narrowly to get his head to a corner from Daley Blind and then Marcos Rojo headed over the crossbar from a free-kick by Memphis Depay.
United finally broke the deadlock when Rashford opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Rashford might have doubled United's lead just two minutes into the second half when he darted onto a clever through-ball from Mata. But the young forward stabbed his shot into the side-netting.
Rooney's league comeback ended after 68 minutes. Villa ought to have claimed an equaliser as substitute Rudy Gestede twice went close within moments of joining the fray. In stoppage-time, Depay almost doubled United's lead but his shot was scrambled onto the post by Guzan.