It was the 88th minute and City were leading 1-0. Ameobi found himself in some space in the City box and let go off a shot. The Manchester United fans watching from home were off their seats. But Micah Richards came out of nowhere to produce a title saving block.
Newcastle had a corner though, some hope left.
The corner is cleared, Aguero holds the ball up and feeds it to Clichy on the left of the box. Clichy takes his time to find Toure, who calmly puts it over Krul and into the back of the net. 2-0! The fans could now slump back into their seat. They had been outdone!
Whatever little hope that Manchester United had of retaining their trophy lay with Newcastle, who themselves were playing for a Champions League spot as they hosted Manchester City at the Sports Direct Arena. Both managers opted to play with the same teams that started last week but Pardew was more adventurous as he went for a 4-4-2 formation with the dangerous Cisse and Demba Ba up front while Nasri, Silva, Toure, Aguero and Tevez formed a formidable attacking line for City.
As expected, it was City who began as the more dominating team as Silva forced a good save out of Krul. Silva again was in the thick of action as he set up Aguero only to be thwarted by Krul once again. It was only after half an hour that the Magpies had their first sighter on goal. Ben Arfa dispossessed Clichy and beat Lescott before picking up Ba but the Senagalese shot over the bar. The duo combined again as Newcastle almost took the lead. Ba’s blocked effort ricocheted into the path of Ben Arfa who forced an excellent save from Hart. This was only the beginning of his brilliant day in front of the goal. The half ended with two more City counterattacks, the second one cleared of the goal line by Davide Santon, as the teams went into the tunnel goalless.
The second half started just as the first had with Cisse and Ba overshadowed by the defensive pairing of Lescott and Kompany. But with the game still goalless, there was a sense of anxiety among the Citizens. Amidst a barrage of booing by the home fans, Mancini brought on Nigel Di Jong for Samir Nasri thus giving Yaya Toure more freedom to play up ahead behind Aguero.
The tactical brilliance worked! Within ten minutes of this substitution, the Ivorian exchanged a neat one-two with Aguero before stroking the ball past the helpless Tim Krul from 20 yards out. The party had just begun in the blue part of Manchester!
Newcastle, desperate to keep their Champions League hopes alive, pushed more men up front and this gave City more opportunity to catch them on the counterattack. A quickfire move saw Silva feed Aguero with a lovely chip but the Argentine wasted a golden chance as he sent his shot just inches wide as he tried to round off the keeper.
Newcastle were determined to make the last ten minutes the most unpleasant ten minutes in City’s history as Pardew brought on Ameobi and Ferguson for Ben Arfa and Perch. Cisse came close first as he deflected his header wide of the post. A barrage of attacks followed, and the final one came when Cisse headed down the ball to Ameobi, who found himself in some space and his goal bound shot was blocked by a flying Richards.
Newcastle won a corner but it was City who would score as Toure completed his first ever double in the League. Newcastle could muster one final attack but Ba was denied by an outstanding Hart as the much awaited final whistle blew giving City the required 3 points.
“One hand on the trophy,” remarked the commentator from Sky Sports. While the title race is technically not yet over as United picked up three points later in the evening, it might only be a matter of one more week until City can put their other hand on the trophy.