Soccer Brief: Manchester City makes Premier League history with win over QPR
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012
Updated: Saturday, May 19, 2012 12:05
Who said soccer couldn’t be exciting?
One would be wise to give the sport a second look after the action in England on Sunday, May 13. The Premier League final marked one of the biggest days in the history of soccer. Manchester City roared back from a 2-1 deficit against Queens Park Rangers to win 3-2 and deny Manchester United its third title in four years.
“I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again,” said Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler.
“This is the greatest Premier League season ever,” said ESPN commentator Ian Darke.
Since both teams finished with identical totals of 89 points, this season was significant for a variety of reasons. United started the season in unassailable fashion, winning its first five games with a score of 18-5.
City, though, stormed back to take a five-point advantage at the end of November, picking up a 6-1 romp at United’s Old Trafford Stadium in the process. Undeterred, United took an eight-point lead with six games to go. United has a history for finishing the season strong, so City had been all but written off.
Yet, there were more twists to come. On April 11, United lost 1-0 to Wigan Athletic. After winning 4-0 against Aston Villa, the Red Devils drew against Everton, losing a two-goal advantage with seven minutes left. City, meanwhile, won its games against Norwich and West Bromwich Albion, bringing the difference down to three points. Then, on April 30, City and United played in a rematch. This time, City did not disappoint, winning 1-0. Breaking even in points, City’s eight-goal edge put them in prime position.
Having won their games against Newcastle United and Swansea City the previous weekend, City and United kicked off home against QPR and at Sunderland, respectively, at 3 G.M.T. last Sunday.
With QPR languishing in 17th place and having the worst away record in the Premier League, City — who won 17 out of 18 games at home this season — looked to have an easy task. If United didn’t win at Sunderland by nine goals, a City win would seal the title.
And when City took the lead through left-back Pablo Zabaleta’s goal, it looked as if they had it won.
However, QPR equalized with a goal from striker Djibril Cisse, having earlier taken a lead on striker Jamie Mackie’s header in the 65th minute. In just under 20 minutes, City had seemingly lost the title. A two-goal comeback looked impossible.
Meanwhile, 140 miles away at the Stadium of Light, United fans, whose 1-0 victory against Sunderland had just concluded, were celebrating that City was down 2-1 in stoppage time. They also figured a rally was not in the cards for Man City.
They were wrong.
City forward Edin Dzeko headed in the equalizer with 91:05 gone in the game. Having run the ball back to the center circle to kick off again, City regained possession and stormed into the penalty area. Sergio Aguero played a clever one-two with Mario Balotelli before smashing a near-post strike past QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
The strike sent the Ethiad Stadium into absolute bedlam. Television cameras broadcasting the game shook. Fans had been sobbing moments before, thinking their team had fallen at the final hurdle. At the final whistle though, they were crying tears of joy.
Meanwhile, United fans, who thought they had won the title, endured the opposite fate. Upon hearing the news, the fans — as well as the United camp — went silent, stunned at what happened.
A blue moon rose over Manchester on Sunday night. Yet, the Red Devils will seek revenge next season.
For now, though, City fans will celebrate. Either way, even a neutral party would argue that this season—and Sunday—were perhaps the most incredible day and year in Premier League history.