By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games
Manchester City secured the Premier League title in the most dramatic fashion possible, coming from behind to secure a 3-2 win and with it end their 44 year wait for English football’s ultimate trophy.
Roberto Mancini’s men went into the game knowing that a win would secure the first place bar a freak score-line in Manchester United clash with Sunderland.
The tension of the encounter was visible for all to see in the opening exchanges, though a spill by Paddy Kenny almost saw Sergio Aguero capitalise. Minutes later, news filtered through that Wayne Rooney had handed Sir Alex Ferguson’s men the lead, cranking up the atmosphere in the Etihad Stadium.
City were dominating possession but with QPR happy to defend with 10 men behind the ball, Mancini’s men were struggling to carve open the visitor’s defence, whilst at the other end Djibril Cisse went close with a free-kick.
The hosts were dealt another blow as Yaya Toure picked up a knock, but he climbed to his feet and was instrumental as City finally forced their way through. Intricate play on the edge of QPR’s box saw Zabaleta pick out Toure, who controlled and flicked back into his teammate’s path. The Argentina international shot first time and Kenny was only able to parry the ball over his own head and into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
City went in at half-time knowing that the title was just 45 minutes away, though the loss of Toure to injury was certainly a concern given his form throughout the season.
Aguero went close again from the off only for Kenny to tip his shot round the post, and City’s hearts were racing a minute later as QPR grabbed an equaliser. A poor header by Joleon Lescott found its way right into Cisse’s path, and he paced his way through before blasting passed Joe Hart to make it 1-1.
Moments later, and with QPR gaining the upperhand in the game, Joey Barton was unacceptably sent-off. He appeared to strike Carlos Tevez after a tussle between the pair, before lashing out at Aguero having already been shown the red card. It took Micah to race off City’s bench and usher his former teammate off the pitch in another dismal happening with the QPR midfielder.
City were becoming increasingly desperate as they tried to rescue their title hunt, with a fine save by Kenny denying Tevez and Aguero believing he had nudged the ball over the line only for the QPR stopped to get his hands round it.
Mancini was reduced to crouching on the touchline as he roared his team on, but it was QPR who grabbed a second to seemingly end City’s title hope. Substitute Armand Traore burst down the left and picked out Jamie Mackie who headed home to make it 2-1 to the away side and reduce some City fans to tears.
Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko were brought on in a final throw of the dice, with both involved immediately and again denied by Kenny. It seemed, unbelievably, that City were going to throw away the Premier League crown at the final hurdle, but this tale still included a further twists.
The first came via Dzeko, who headed home from David Silva’s corner to give his side a fighting chance with just four minutes of injury time remaining. As the goal went in, the final whistle went at the Stadium of Light to mean that if City failed to find a third, Ferguson’s men were champions once again.
That was all, however, before Aguero picked up the ball in QPR’s box, coasted past two challenges and fired home to make it 3-2 and restore City’s position at the top of the table, sealing an incredible fight-back and securing one of the most dramatic finishes to a season in the history of football.
The game was drawn to a close to queue wild celebrations, and gives Micah his first Premier League winners’ medal at the ripe old age of 23!
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Nasri, Toure Yaya, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Milner, Dzeko, Kolarov, De Jong, Balotelli.
QPR: Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo, Wright-Phillips, Barton, Derry, Mackie, Cisse, Zamora. Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Taarabt, Campbell, Bothroyd, Traore, Buzsaky.