There were parties and celebrations on the final day of the Premier League in Manchester yet again. This time however, it was the blue side of the city that was jubilant. Manchester City Football Club have won the Premier League for the first time in 44 years in spectacular fashion.
Manchester United and City were tied on points going into the final game of the season with the Sky Blues only ahead on goal difference. City were big favourites to win the league playing 16th ranked Queens Park Rangers at home whilst United faced a tougher test playing Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. The fate of the trophy was dependent entirely on City’s performance; a win would see them they take it home, while a draw or loss would mean they would lose the title if United won against Sunderland.
With each game being played at the same time, the stages were set for one of the closest and most tense finishes to a Premier League season in history. United were the first to make a breakthrough in their game with a Wayne Rooney header in the 20th minute. Meanwhile, City were dominating proceedings at the Etihad Stadium, but they couldn’t find the back of the net until Pablo Zabaleta’s driven shot was palmed by the keeper into his own net. From then on, it seemed as though City would cruise their way to victory and the title.
However, QPR had different ideas when Djibril Cisse scored right after the start of the second half after a horrible defensive blunder by Joleon Lescott. 1-1 at the Etihad, 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.
QPR captain Joey Barton was sent off soon after for elbowing Carlos Tevez. He left the pitch kneeing City striker Sergio Aguero in the leg which will surely result in a lengthy ban. With the Rangers left with only ten men on the pitch, few doubted that City would win the game. They had all the possession and QPR were sitting back and trying their best to keep the ball out.
Then in one of Rangers’s rare possessions, they started a counter attack down the left wing, crossed the ball into the box and Jeremy Mackie met it with a diving header that bounced into the goal and stunned everyone watching. Tears and silence at the Etihad, advantage United.
City pressed and pressed but still could not break through the staunch QPR defense. 90 minutes gone and the score was still 2-1. With five minutes of extra time left in the season, the Citizens had to score twice to win the title. Edin Dzeko headed in from a corner at 91 minutes and gave City a sliver of hope. Meanwhile, Manchester United’s game was over, final score 1-0. The fans thought they had won the title, chanting and cheering while they awaited the outcome of the City game.
Little did they know, that one of the greatest moments in Premier League history was about to occur, and to their demise unfortunately. 93 minutes had gone at the Etihad and still a goal was needed. Substitute Mario Balotelli received the ball just outside the box and slipped it through to the surging Aguero who latched on to the ball, passed a defender and rocketed the ball into the goal. The whole stadium erupted, there were tears again but this time it was not only confined to the stands. The players and staff of Manchester City could not hold in their emotion and rightly so. It was a certainly a sight to behold.
Rarely do you see two goals scored in a span of three minutes, even more rare that you see this in stoppage time of the title-deciding match. An epic finale to a stunning season.
“It was a crazy finish for a crazy season,” City manager Roberto Mancini said, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Captain Vincent Kompany was obviously delighted they won the title and described it as a miracle. “Miracles do happen in Manchester, but it’s this side of the road this time…but please never again this way.”
What an absolutely amazing season the world has witnessed for the past eight months. Easily one of the most competitive seasons, and a new winner has emerged. The blue side of Manchester will never forget this season, not only because they won the title, but also because of the spectacular fashion in which they did. Congratulations go to Manchester City FC, winners of the Barclays Premier League 2011/2012. Hollywood, it’s movie time.