LONDON: Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions after an incredible fightback which saw them score twice in injury-time to beat QPR 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 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 incredible. This is for our supporters, they deserve this,” said City manager Roberto Mancini.
“I have never seen a finish like this. We had a lot of chances and we deserve to win this championship. After 44 years I dedicate this to all our supporters. It’s a crazy season, crazy last minutes.”
Relieved City captain Vincent Kompany meanwhile admitted his nerves had been shredded by the frantic finale.
“I want to say it’s the best moment of my life — but please never again like today,” said Kompany. “Miracles do happen in Manchester. Only this time it’s on this side of the road.”
City celebrated but it was a different story at the Stadium of Light, where for a fleeting moment after the final whistle United’s players believed they had done enough to retain their crown after Wayne Rooney’s first-half goal completed a 1-0 win.
Ferguson congratulates City
But then news of Aguero’s late winner filtered through and United’s players trudged off in disbelief having been all smiles just moments before.
“Nobody expected that. Everybody expected City to win, but they did it against 10 men for half an hour and with five extra minutes to help them,” said Sir Alex Ferguson afterwards.
“But I congratulate City on winning the league. Anybody who wins it deserves it, because it’s a long haul. At the end of our game our players didn’t actually know the results. Now, they’re really disappointed.”
Arsenal, Tottenham register wins
QPR’s fans celebrated meanwhile after the club’s Premier League survival was ensured as Bolton could only draw 2-2 at Stoke.
In the other issues to be settled, Arsenal clinched third place with a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion while Tottenham sealed fourth spot with a 2-0 win over Fulham at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham, however, face a nervous wait to see if they will advance to next season’s Champions League.
A win for Chelsea in next week’s final against Bayern Munich would see Spurs miss out. Chelsea warmed up for next week’s final with a 2-1 win over relegated Blackburn.
Elsewhere, Newcastle’s brave challenge for a top four finish ended in a 3-1 defeat at Everton which left the Magpies in fifth place.
Liverpool’s disappointing season ended on a downbeat note with a 1-0 loss at Swansea.
“The last few minutes were incredible. I have never seen a finish like this. After 44 years I dedicate this to all our supporters. It’s a crazy season and a crazy final minutes.”
“Everybody expected City to win, but they did it against 10 men for half an hour and with five extra minutes to help them. But I congratulate them on winning the league.” AFP