They’ve waited a long time in the blue half of Manchester. 44 years to be exact. But finally, the supporters of Manchester City can call themselves champions! It wasn’t easy. In fact, it looked like City were on the death. But two goals in stoppage time, gave the Sky Blues an extraordinary 3-2 result over Queen’s Park Rangers, in one of the most thrilling matches in the history of English football. City finished level on points with their bitter derby rivals, Manchester United, but won the title on goal difference, the first tiebreaker in English football.
It looked like City had it made in the 39th minute when Pablo Zabaleta’s strike deflected off Paddy Kenny’s outstretched and found the corner of the net, to give City the lead at halftime.
However the second half provided some of the most gripping drama that would make a soap opera proud. An egregious error by Joleon Lescott provided Queen’s Park Rangers with a break. Djibril Cisse roared down the right flank and buried a shot in the top corner to level the score. With United holding on to a 1-0 lead against Sunderland, City had to get the next goal. City were given every opportunity imaginable in the 55th minute, when Joey Barton was shown a red card after elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face. Barton is known for such transgressions, but he wouldn’t leave the field quietly, as he proceeded to kick at the shins of Sergio Aguero. Barton is no better than a common thug, who has no place in the sport anymore. The time has come for English clubs to crack down on this boorish behaviour. Hopefully Barton will never play for Queen’s Park Rangers again.
With QPR down to 10 men, City pushed forward in trying to get the go ahead goal. Aguero had a wonderful chance in close, but Kenny made a brilliant save to keep QPR level. Then a stunning occurrence. After another blunder from Lescott, QPR broke in on rare attack, Jamie Mackie headed home a gorgeous cross from Armand Traore to give QPR a shocking lead, 66 minutes in. It was doom and gloom at the Eastlands as City looked like they had thrown the title away. With United getting the victory over Sunderland, City’s chances were grim.
Then came stoppage time, and the most improbable finish to a match. First, substitute Edin Dzeko headed home a corner in the 91st minute to draw even, and give the City fans a small glimmer of hope. Then in the 94th minute, Aguero found space in the QPR box, and finished with aplomb, to set off a wild celebration at Eastlands. City were champions. Here’s the video of the winning goal.
Many critics claimed City bought themselves a championship. Signing players such as Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez to lucrative contracts are pointed out by the critics. However, in this age of modern football, you need the finances to build your team to championship form. Manchester United have bought players. So have Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. All of these teams have had success because they have been aggressive in the transfer market, and bought the right players to win titles. It is a fact of life that money is critical to a club’s fate, and City do have the financial wherewithal, to dominate English football for a long time.
So congratulations to Roberto Mancini and the rest of Manchester City. They do deserve to be called champions!
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