The full time whistle had blown at the Stadium of Light. Manchester United had done their part. Wayne Rooney’s goal ensured that the Red Devils got all three points on the last day of the season. Now all they could do was wait for the final whistle at the Etihad.
It was stoppage time over there and Queens Park Rangers, fighting a relegation battle themselves, led City 2-1. A draw wouldn’t have been enough for City. They needed to score twice and they had to do that in the next five minutes. Had Manchester United stolen the title away again? One would presume so.
And then the most dramatic five minutes in the history of the Premier League happened.
After a barrage of attempts on goal, Edin Dzeko managed to head a David Silva corner into the back of the net to level the scores. Three minutes of stoppage time left. “Believe,” said the City fans.
Surely, they couldn’t score again, could they?
And there was one final attack. Aguero played a one-two with Balotelli, held off a QPR defender and blasted the ball across Paddy Kenny into the back of the net. The scores had overturned. The roof was blown off at the Etihad. Manchester City were Champions of England.
It was cruel on QPR, who played the last 36 minutes of the game with ten men after their maniacal skipper Joey Barton was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez. But there was something to cheer for the QPR supporters as Bolton’s 2-2 draw against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium ensured that they lived to survive another season in England’s top flight.
The match at the Etihad began as expected with City dominating possession and going for the all important goal that would give them their first English League title in 44 years. But a resolute Rangers defence ensured that wouldn’t come easily. News of a Wayne Rooney goal at the Stadium of Light poured through and City now knew that they had to win to be crowned Champions. However with Bolton leading at Stoke, QPR held on for their dear lives and it wasn’t until the 39th minute that City could get a breakthrough.
Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure combined on the right to put Zabaleta through, whose shot from an acute angle could only be gloved away by Kenny. The ball ballooned up in the air, hit the post and barely crept over the goal line as Kenny’s desperate attempt to pull it back was in vain. City were in front and when the half time whistle blew, they knew that they were only 45 minutes away from making history.
The second half began in an utterly unexpected fashion as QPR equalized. Shaun Wright Phillips’ ball from the centre of midfield should have been met easily by Lescott but the England international failed to control his header and put the ball in the path of Djibril Cisse who thumped in a goal past Hart to level the scores.
And then things fell apart for Queens Park Rangers!
Joey Barton, a poster boy for bad behavior who enjoyed his share of problems during his playing days at City, was caught elbowing Carlos Tevez by the assistant referee and was subsequently red carded. His stomp on Aguero on the way out an epitome of disgrace as QPR now stared at the longest half hour of their lives. Their captain had thrown it away
However if the scores remained as it were, United would win the title and QPR would have survived relegation. And against all odds and against the run of play, QPR scored again!
The defence managed to clear the ball and Traore, who came in for Cisse after Barton’s dismissal, worked his way past Zabaleta and crossed it into the box where Jamie Mackie threw himself at the ball as it bounced its way into the net. Queens Park Rangers led 2-1 with 25 minutes to go and City were throwing it all away on the last day of the season.
What followed was a barrage of attacks from City. Attack after attack was thwarted by Paddy Kenny and his defence as the entire game was being played in QPRs half. Mancini threw everything he could as he introduced Dzeko and Balotelli as the game moved into extra time. United fans were celebrating at the other end of Manchester as the game at the Stadium of Light ended 1-0 and all that could be done now was wait for QPR to hold on.
However, strange things have happened in football.
Late into the 92nd minute, Dzeko rose above everyone else to head in Silva’s corner and a minute of later, Aguero rounded off a defender and his shot into the back of the net. The blue half of Manchester exploded!
What followed was a frenzy of joyous celebrations. Rocket cannisters and blue smoke engulfed the Etihad as Vincent Kompany lifted the Barclays Premier League Trophy, the first for City since 1968 and definitely wouldn’t be the last to come in the next few years.
Meanwhile elsewhere QPR celebrated themselves as Stoke came from behind to pull of an exciting 2-2 draw against Bolton, ensuring that QPR would play in the Premier League next season. Joey Barton though, I am not so sure!