The English Premier League is no stranger to comebacks, but what ensued on the final day of the 2011/12 campaign has gone down as one of the most mesmerising events in the history of the game.
The blue side of Manchester emerged as champions of England after a lethal strike from their forward Sergio Aguero in the 93rd minute. Aguero had a blistering season with City by scoring 23 league goals, but what followed on the closing day made him a City hero who’ll be worshipped by the fans for years to come.
The Citizens were trailing Manchester United by eight points with six games to go. Fortunately for City’s manager, United lost their way towards the end of the campaign, which allowed the Citizens to storm back into the title contention.
Even so, the Manchester Derby also ended in favour of Mancini’s men. Tied on points with United, boosting a better goal difference, City had to make sure that they won their final game of the season against Queens Park Rangers (QPR).
The Citizens had an impeccable home record that season, and facing a relegation-threatened QPR should have been a cake walk, but it almost turned out to be a heartbreaker for City fans.
Amidst the sea of blue, City began their most ambitious pursuit against QPR. The first step towards glory came in the 39th minute, when Pablo Zabaleta gave City the lead. City seemed to be in control but three minutes into the second half, QPR struck back due to Joleon Lescott’s calamitous error at the back.
On this day in 2012, Sergio Agüero scored the most famous goal in Premier League history at 93:20 against QPR to give Manchester City their first top-flight title in in 44 years.— City Watch (@City_Watch) May 13, 2018
Scores were now levelled 1-1. City’s woes seemed to ease for a while when QPR’s Joey Barton was sent off for trying to headbutt Kompany. Despite stepping back, QPR racked up a second goal courtesy of Jamie Mackie. The Etihad fell to its knees.
The news of United’s victory had already reached the neighbours who had no chance but to win this match to be crowned champions. With four minutes of stoppage time awarded, Eden Dzeko got City back through a David Silva corner. City’s manager Mancini was flipping at the touchline, venting his rage.
One final attack emerged from City’s half as Nigel De Jong found Aguero, who passed the ball to Mario Balotelli. What came next was probably the Italian’s greatest assist of all time and it found Aguero in the box in a position to shoot. Time stood still for a second as Aguero blasted a shot in the net and started running towards the stand to celebrate.
City had pulled off a miracle. The whole stadium went berserk and tears of joy flowed freely down the cheeks of the fans. Aguero had pulled them out of the days of darkness and into the light.
The fans invaded the pitch and those who weren’t present could only listen to the commentary of legendary Martin Tyler who went on, ‘AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOO, I swear you’ll never see anything like this.’ It was indeed special.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis