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13 May 2012 06:14
Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero celebrate Zabaleta's goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Queens Park Rangers in Manchester. (Reuters)
Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions on Sunday after an incredible fightback which saw them score twice in injury time to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 and seal the title on goal difference.
City’s dreams of a first title in 44 years appeared to be in tatters as 10-man Rangers led 2-1 after 90 minutes courtesy of goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie following Pablo Zabaleta’s opener.
But as Manchester United prepared to celebrate snatching a 20th league title following their 1-0 win at Sunderland, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero struck twice in two minutes to seal the most enthralling title duel in years.
“The last few minutes were incrdible. This is for our supporters, they deserve this,” City manager Roberto Mancini said.
“To win like this is incredible, I have never seen a finish like this – we had a lot of chances, we deserve to win this championship.
After a nervy start, City took the lead five minutes from half-time through Zabaleta, the Argentinian fullback darting onto a deft through ball from Yaya Toure to shoot high into the net past Rangers keeper Paddy Kenny.
The goal sent relief coursing around Eastlands as City prepared for their championship party.
But Eastlands was stunned into silence shortly after half-time when a blunder by Joleon Lescott let in Cisse who raced clear and thundered an equaliser past Joe Hart.
Even then, the force still seemed to be with City, as QPR captain Joey Barton was sent off in an incident that defied belief.
The fiery midfielder was given his marching orders by referee Mike Dean for a retaliatory elbow on Carlos Tevez following an off-the-ball clash.
As Barton left the pitch, the midfielder then angrily kneed Aguero in the back of the thigh to leave himself facing a lengthy ban.
Yet incredibly instead of ramming home their advantage, City were left shellshocked as 10-man Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the 66th minute, Mackie heading in at the far post after Armand Traore’s swift break from defence.
Amid unbearable tension, City looked set for a traumatic defeat until substitute Dzeko nodded in to equalise in the second of five minutes of injury time.
Then, out of nowhere, Aguero skipped clear of the Rangers defence to spark bedlam at Eastlands with the most dramatic winner imaginable.
QPR’s defeat was not enough to send the Londoners down into the Championship however as their rivals for the last relegation spot Bolton could only draw 2-2 at Stoke.
In the other issues to be settled on Sunday, Arsenal clinched third place with a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion while Tottenham sealed fourth place with a 2-0 win over Fulham at White Hart Lane. — Sapa-AFP
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