Dramatic finish as Manchester City clinch title

Manchester City came back from the brink in stoppage time to be crowned champions for the first time in 44 years, beating Queens Park Rangers to win the Premier League on goal difference.

Needing to match Manchester United’s result at Sunderland, City surrendered a first-half lead to 10-man QPR before roaring back in added time to deny their neighbours the title in spite of their 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light.

Roberto Mancini celebrates with the trophy
Roberto Mancini celebrates with the trophy

Pablo Zabaleta’s 39th minute goal seemed to have put City on the road to victory and a first title in 44 years but the home side struggled to add a second to give them breathing space.

Within three minutes of the break they were punished when Djibril Cisse took advantage of Joleon Lescott’s awful mistake to bring QPR level.

The game took another swing in City’s favour when Joey Barton was sent off for retaliating to a tangle with Carlos Tevez. His offence was compounded when he kicked out at Sergio Aguero as the QPR midfielder was dragged from the field.

As the clock ticked into five minutes of additional time, City and their supporters were transported from the depths of despair to feelings of ecstasy in the space of moments.

Substitute Edin Dzeko headed an equaliser two minutes into the extra period and then – in a stadium almost bordering on hysteria – Sergio Aguero drove into the penalty area and flashed a finish past Kenny.

The Etihad Stadium was an explosion of joy and relief as 44 years of frustration poured out, Aguero wheeling his shirt about his head in celebration and manager Roberto Mancini, who had cut an increasingly frantic figure, racing around on the turf in ecstasy.

Striking at the death: Aguero wheels away after his magical late goal sealed the title for City

As Mike Dean’s final whistle blew, the reality dawned on City as they capped a run of form that has seen them overturn United’s eight-point advantage in the space of five weeks.

And for supporters who have suffered watching the successes of neighbours United under Sir Alex Ferguson, this was the perfect moment of redemption.

The atmosphere was a mixture of the tense and triumphal as the teams came out to a torrent of golden ticker tape raining down from the stands.