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United claim 10th Premier League title

  • Story Highlights
  • Manchester United win 10th Premier League title with 2-0 victory at Wigan
  • Closest rivals Chelsea are held 1-1 at home by Bolton Wanderers
  • Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs score crucial goals for United
  • United and Chelsea meet in the Champions League final on May 21
  • Middlesbrough rout Manchester City 8-1 for biggest win of the season
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LONDON, England -- Manchester United claimed their 10th Premier League title with a 2-0 victory at Wigan Athletic on a dramatic final day of the season.

Ronaldo (left) made the breakthrough at the JJB with a first half penalty.

Nearest rivals Chelsea were held 1-1 at home to Bolton to leave Alex Ferguson's men two points clear in the final English championship standings.

United went ahead through a disputed penalty by Cristiano Ronaldo, his 31st league goal of the season, in the first half after Wayne Rooney was fouled by Emmerson Boyce.

But they had to survive some nervous moments at the JJB Stadium before substitute Ryan Giggs, equaling the legendary Bobby Charlton's record 758th appearances for United, scored a precious second goal with nine minutes remaining.

"That doesn't come into it -- championships are what it's all about," Giggs said.

Charlton, who survived the 1958 Munich air disaster which decimated Matt Busby's team, came down to the field to congratulate the current team after Wigan had formed a guard of honor as they returned after the final whistle.

Fittingly, Giggs raised the trophy with artificial flames flickering behind and fireworks exploding around the stadium.

Avram Grant's Chelsea, who can make amends when they meet United in the Champions League final in Moscow on May 21, had gone ahead through substitute Andriy Shevchenko in the 63rd minute at Stamford Bridge.

But Kevin Davies equalized for Bolton in the final minute against a deflated Chelsea team who already knew that their title dream was over.

It was the 10th Premier League title for United in the 16 seasons of the competition and 17th English championship overall, retaining the crown they won last season after two successive titles for Chelsea.

They finished on 87 points from 38 games, with Chelsea on 85 and Arsenal, who won 1-0 at Sunderland, on 83 in the closest title race for some years.

Liverpool, 2-0 winners at Tottenham, finished fourth, while Everton claimed a UEFA Cup spot as they beat Newcastle 3-1 to make sure they kept sixth-placed Aston Vilay at bay.

At the other end of the table, Birmingham and Reading were relegated to the second-flight alongside bottom side Derby County while the most remarkable result of the closing day came at a match with little riding on the outcome.

Middlesbrough, safe from relegation, routed Manchester City 8-1 to leave Sven-Goran Eriksson's future in yet more doubt.

City, who are set to qualify for the UEFA Cup through the Fair Play league, ironically had captain Richard Dunne sent off in the 15th minute.

Stewart Downing scored from the resulting penalty and Afonso Alves scored a hat-trick for Boro who completed the biggest Premier League win of the season.

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