Sunday, May 13, 2012
Man City: 1st EPL title since '68
ESPN.com news services
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester City won the English title
for the first time in 44 years, surging past Queens Park Rangers
3-2 on Sunday with Sergio Aguero scoring his team's second goal late in stoppage time.
Aguero, the son-in-law of Argentine great Diego Maradona, scored
during the fourth minute of injury time, two minutes after
substitute Edin Dzeko made it 2-2. The winning goal snatched the
trophy from defending champion Manchester United on goal
difference. Without Aguero's startling goal, United would have won
the title after its 1-0 victory over Sunderland moments earlier on
the final day of the season.
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"I don't think I've ever seen a finale like this," City
manager Roberto Mancini said. "We didn't deserve to lose. We had a
lot of chances and we deserved to win the game and championship.
It's fantastic for the club and the supporters after 44 years. It's
been a crazy season and a crazy last minute."
It was the first time the English title was decided in such
dramatic circumstances since 1989, when Arsenal and Liverpool
finished even on points and had the same goal difference. Arsenal
won the title on total goals.
"It's a cruel way (to lose the title)," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "We've experienced many ups and downs in the 25
years I've been here, most of them have been great, we've won the
title three times on the last day, today we nearly did it.
"I'd like to say on behalf of Manchester United,
congratulations to our neighbors -- a fantastic achievement to win
the Premier League."
City won the title for the first time since 1968 after
overturning the eight-point lead United held five weeks ago. The
two Manchester rivals have traded places atop the standings all
season, and continued to do so until the final minutes of the final
City took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but then went down 2-1 after
the break despite QPR captain Joey Barton being sent off in the
55th, leaving his team with 10 men the rest of the way.
"I never stopped believing," City captain Vincent Kompany
said. "When Edin scored that goal, it reminded me of so many other
moments during the season when we've done this before. There was no
reason not to believe.
Sergio Aguero is mobbed by his Manchester City teammates after scoring the eventual winning goal.
"It's not sunk in yet. I don't know what happened at the end,
it was just a huge mess."
Pablo Zabaleta put City in front in the 39th minute, but Djibril
Cisse tied it for QPR three minutes into the second half after a
misplay by Joleon Lescott. Lescott went to make a simple headed
clearance but instead knocked the ball backward, and Cisse seized
on the defender's mistake by driving a shot past Joe Hart.
Barton was then sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez, but Jamie
Mackie managed to head the visitors in front in the 66th.
City's expensively assembled squad had been facing its first
loss at home since December 2010, but Dzeko sparked the recovery by
heading in a corner kick in the second minute of stoppage time.
There was still time for one final moment of drama in an
unpredictable season when Aguero drove home the winner. As the
final whistle blew, thousands of City fans poured onto the field
and blue smoke wafted around the stadium.
Winning the title is the result of more than a $1 billion of
investment by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour, who rescued a financially
stricken club from ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in
"It was really important to start winning this championship,"
Mancini said. "Manchester City can have a big future now."
The field was covered in confetti from the start and all the
action was in QPR's half, although the hosts couldn't find the goal
against a relegation-threatened club.
Yaya Toure fired over and David Silva struck tamely at
goalkeeper Paddy Kenny before news filtered through of Wayne Rooney
putting 19-time champion United ahead at Sunderland and top of the
QPR hasn't won on the road since December, but it wasn't all bad
news for the London club -- it avoided relegation after Bolton was
held to a 2-2 draw at Stoke.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.