Football maybe have been stopped in it’s tracks by the raging pandemic that is Covid-19, but we at matchdayguru won’t be bullied into obscurity by the deadly virus. So, we have decided to turn back the hands of time just enough not to upset mother nature as we bring you memorable matches from the past with our Retro-Series.
On 13 May, 2012 Manchester City won their first league title in 44 years by beating Queens Park Rangers 3-2 in front of a jam-packed Etihad stadium. The topsy-turvy game produced relentless drama throughout, as the Citizens had to wait till the final seconds to turn the game around on its head and frustrate neighbors Manchester United, who would have been announced as champions if City failed to win the tie.
Roberto Mancini’s men were near an excruciating collapse when they found themselves a goal down in the 90th minute. More than 200 kilometers away, Sir Alex Fergusson and his team were following the score after beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. If the 2-1 scoreline remained intact, which it seemed destined to, the Red Devils would have been crowned the champions of England for the 20th time in their history.
A sense of agony was apparent in the atmosphere of the Etihad, as many City fans were seen leaving their seats with tearful eyes after the five minute injury time was announced. Those who remained also stared onto the pitch lifelessly. They came so close, but yet it felt so far. Not even a shred of optimism was left in any of them. But, little did they know they were up for an emotional rollercoaster of a lifetime.
But before we get to the theatrics of the final moments, let’s revisit what was at stake for both clubs when they had stepped into the pitch earlier on. The game was immensely important for both clubs. The goals, however, were exactly opposite. Manchester City were level on points with Manchester United, so they knew beating QPR would make them English champions for the first time since 1968 unless Manchester United managed to overcome the 8 goal advantage City had over United in a single game.
Mark Hughes, on the other hand, was worried about avoiding the drop. Without salvaging anything from the match, The Hoops couldn’t ensure their safety and had to rely on other results going in their favor. And their concerns intensified when Pablo Zabaleta fired the ball home to score his first goal for the Sky Blues and earn them a much-needed lead. However, Djibril Cisse restored parity for the visitors as he escaped a high Man City backline and beat Joe Hart.
But, QPR were reduced to 10-men when Joey Barton was shown a red for elbowing Carlos Tevez. City tried to exploit the numerical advantage and put themselves back on the lead, but rather unexpectedly, it was Rangers who managed to score the next goal of the match as Jamie Mackie found the far post with his composed header with 24 minutes left to play in regulation time. They held on to the lead and was looking set to induce a heart-breaking defeat to the hosts.
But in a turbulent phase of five minutes, Man City turned the table around. Paddy Kenny had put together a string of stunning saves to keep his team in the game but he had no answer to Edin Dzeko’s 91st minute leveler and then a die-minute goal from Sergio Aguero that decided the game sending a shockwave of euphoria across the stadium.