Manchester City won the Barclays Premier League 2012 Season Title
13 May 2012: One of the most enthralling Premier League seasons in history went down to the final minute as Manchester City snatched the title from Manchester United in stoppage time against QPR.
It was a season full of twists and turns with plenty of drama off the pitch as well as on it, but in the end it was the blue half of Manchester celebrating their first league title since 1968.
Manchester City scored twice in stoppage time to be crowned champions for the first time in 44 years as they beat Queen’s Park Rangers to win the Premier League on goal difference from Manchester United.
In scenes of near bedlam, City looked to be suffering a dramatic collapse as QPR – safe after Stoke City drew with Bolton – held on to an unlikely advantage with United leading at Sunderland.
With some City fans already leaving the stadium in tears, Edin Dzeko equalised in the second of five minutes of stoppage time before Sergio Aguero scored the goal that won the title.
City’s players and supporters travelled from one end of the emotional scale to the other in those vital seconds, providing a truly remarkable piece of football theatre and the most dramatic conclusion to a season in Premier League history.
Roberto Mancini’s side needed victory to clinch the prize that has eluded them since 1968 and took the lead through Pablo Zabaleta shortly before the interval.
Djibril Cisse levelled for QPR soon after the restart before the visitors lost Joey Barton when he was shown a red card against his former club following a clash with Carlos Tevez.
QPR shrugged off their numerical disadvantage to reduce the Etihad to stunned silence when Jamie Mackie gave them the lead with a far-post header in the 66th minute.
City set up permanent camp in QPR territory but appeared condemned to their worst nightmare of losing the title to arch rivals United in the most painful circumstances as keeper Paddy Kenny rode his luck to produce a string of saves to ensure they held firm in the face of an onslaught.
Then, as the clock started to tick into those added minutes and United were in sight of a 20th title, City and their supporters were transported from the depths of despondency to the highest high in the space of two minutes.
Dzeko rose to head the equaliser before Argentine Aguero showed great clarity of thought and composure amid the mayhem to drive into the area and beat Kenny with a powerful low finish.
The Etihad was a sky-blue explosion of joy and relief in an outpouring of 44 years of frustration as Aguero wheeled his shirt above his head in celebration and Mancini, who cut an increasingly frantic figure as time ran out, raced on to the pitch – accompanied by backroom staff including Brian Kidd and David Platt – in ecstasy.
As Mike Dean’s final whistle blew, the reality dawned on City as they capped a run of form that has seen them overturn
United’s eight-point advantage in the space of five weeks.
And for supporters who have suffered watching the successes of neighbours United under Sir Alex Ferguson, this was the perfect moment of redemption.
The atmosphere was a mixture of the tense and triumphal as the teams came out to a torrent of golden ticker tape raining down from the stands.
QPR’s intentions soon became clear as City ran into massed ranks of resistance and the early celebratory mood became tense as Mancini’s side struggled to fashion clear-cut chances.
The breakthrough finally came six minutes before half-time. Yaya Toure had been struggling for some time with a hamstring injury, but he was able to play in Zabaleta and his shot squirmed through the hands of QPR keeper Kenny and in off the far post.
QPR were level shortly after the restart when Cisse took advantage of Joleon Lescott’s poor header to beat Hart – but they were then plunged even further into a rearguard action when Barton was sent off.
He will claim he was provoked by Tevez, but he can have no complaints as he raised his arm to the Argentine and then kicked his fellow countryman Aguero after he received the red card.
QPR lifted the siege in stunning fashion when Mackie stole in at the far post to head them in front and all City’s efforts were thwarted as Kenny saved well from David Silva, Aguero and Dzeko among others.
It looked like the day that had started for City with such anticipation and expectation was going to end in despair – then came the finale and the goals from Dzeko and Aguero that will live forever in the memories of every City fan who witnessed them.
Barclays Premier League 2012 – Points Table
Stats & Figures – Barclays Premier League 2012 – Season So Far