Manchester United endured a pre-match bus attack and post-match demoralisation as their Champions League hopes were harpooned by a 3-2 defeat at West Ham United on Tuesday.
After United's bus was pelted with missiles en route to the ground, they came from behind to lead 2-1 as Anthony Martial's brace negated Diafra Sakho's 10th-minute opener for West Ham. But Michail Antonio equalised before centre-back Winston Reid smuggled a header past visiting goalkeeper David de Gea in the 80th minute to bring the 2,398th and final game at West Ham's Boleyn Ground home to a crashing crescendo.
United manager Louis van Gaal said that the pre-match scenes had affected his younger players, saying: "It's not the first time that it happens, but I have a long experience in football. There are players who don't have experience.
The result left United in fifth place in the Premier League and means that they can only pip Manchester City to fourth place if they win at home to Bournemouth on Sunday and City lose at Swansea City.
That unlikely scenario confronts the under-pressure Van Gaal with the unwanted consolation of a Europa League berth, although his side also face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.
But while the manner of victory was a fitting send-off for the 112-year-old ground, ahead of West Ham's move to the Olympic Stadium, it was marred by pre-match scenes that saw the United bus struck with cans and bottles.
It resulted in a 45-minute delay to kick-off, and there were further scenes of disorder when De Gea had bottles thrown at him following Martial's equaliser.
The Football Association subsequently announced an investigation.
After West Ham's Diafra Sakho had squandered a great chance for West Ham by turning Dimitri Payet's free-kick over the bar, Anthony Martial put United in front by skinning Reid and dinking a shot inside Darren Randolph's near post.
But Upton Park's final chapter was not yet written and after Payet had picked out Antonio to send a bullet header past De Gea, the Frenchman crossed for Reid to notch a winning goal that left the venerable rafters quivering.
Feature image source: Reuters