After a historic season finale on May 13th the Premier League has a 2011-12 Champion and raising the cup is Roberto Mancini with his Sky Blues men.
By Camilla Mancini
The waiting was long for the Citizens side, which didn’t achieve this honor since 1968. Besides it was a tough come back to the top, since they had to give away the first position to Manchester United with only 8 fixtures left to the final round and some tough rivals to confront. The Sky Blues certainly deserved to win this campaign since they spent more than half of the season at the peak of the table and gave us brilliant performances in most of their meetings. But both Mancini and Ferguson’s sides knew that Manchester City couldn’t celebrate the title until the very last match was conquered; and Queens Park Rangers definitely wouldn’t give it away easily.
The Citizens started confident and during the first half they had several chances to score; in fact City’s total shots during the whole game was twelve times better than QPR, which only had 3 shots. During the first half, following the news about the United-Sunderland clash had filter in, the Citizens grabbed the lead with a beautiful goal from inside the penalty box from Pablo Zabaleta (39’) -his first and only goal for the season. By the return from the interval QPR started worrying, as in the Britannia Stadium Bolton was taking the lead, which put them on the relegation zone. So, quickly the Rangers pulled out their strength and with Djibril Cisse upfront they balanced the scoreboard.
However the real drama was about to arrive, for 10 minutes later Joey Barton started with his regular tomfooleries, which fetch him a red card and the rancour from the Sky Blues side. The card was awarded for elbowing Carlos Tevez on the face, but also before leaving the field the QPR’s captain kicked City’s top scorer, Sergio Aguero. The paltry Barton also attempted to hit Kompany, because as he admitted once the game was over- his intention was “to take one of theirs with him”. Conversely he was taken out of the field and the match continued with 21 men seeking for the tiebreak.
Even with 10 men QPR managed to score a second goal at 66’, when Armand Traore stole the ball away from Zabaleta and made a great pass to Jamie Mackie, who sent the ball into the goal with a header that neither Joe Hart nor Lescott –that tried to help his goalkeeper- could stop. The Rangers supporters must applaud the shielding attitude of their club during the next 26 minutes, for they cleared many dangerous shots from the Citizens, especially the ones Patrick Kenny saved, coming from Tevez, Dzeko, Balotelli and Nasri. Following the 90’ a five-minutes-injury-time was added, while the Manchester City supporters and even the light blue bench were dropping all hopes -still providence had a couple of incredible surprises ready for the Sky Blues.
At 90+1 David Silva took a corner from the right line that Edin Dzeko, who came in as Barry’ substitute, headed into the visitors’ goal just in time to even up the scoreboard -and it wasn’t over yet. Just 120 seconds later Aguero stroke that ball into the bottom of the Rangers net and madness was unleashed at the Etihad Stadium, the fans jumped, screamed, laughed and cried of joy. By far it has been one of the most exciting moments in the Premier history and obviously in the history of the club. After all, waiting more than four decades to see your club win your country’s major title it has to be an unforgettable moment and worthy to wait for -especially in the way they achieved it.