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City of dreams: 44 years later

sports Updated: May 14, 2012 03:23 IST
AP
Manchester

Manchester City staged a dramatic fightback to win the English title for the first time in 44 years on Sunday, scoring twice in stoppage time to clinch a 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers.

Sergio Aguero netted the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time — shortly after Edin Dzeko’s equalizer — to snatch the trophy from holder Manchester United on goal difference. The 2011 champions had looked set to defend the title when its game at Sunderland ended in a 1-0 win.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finale like this,” City manager Roberto Mancini said.

"We didn’t deserve to lose, we had a lot of chances and we deserved to win the game and championship. It’s fantastic for the club and the supporters after 44 years. It’s been a crazy season and a crazy last minute."http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/14_05_pg-17a.jpg

It was the first time the English title was decided in such dramatic circumstances since 1989, when Arsenal and Liverpool finished level on points and had the same goal difference, and the Gunners won the title on total goals.

City won the title for the first time since 1968 after overturning the eight-point lead United held five weeks ago. The two Manchester rivals have traded places atop the standings all season, and continued to do so up until the final minutes of the final day.

City took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but then went down 2-1 after the break despite QPR captain Joey Barton being sent off in the 55th.

“I never stopped believing,” City captain Vincent Kompany said. “When Edin scored that goal, it reminded me of so many other moments during the season when we’ve done this before. There was no reason not to believe.”

Pablo Zabaleta put City in front in the 39th minute on Sunday, but Djibril Cisse leveled for QPR three minutes into the second half after being gifted possession by Joleon Lescott.

Barton was then sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez, but Jamie Mackie managed to head the visitors in front in the 66th.

City’s expensively assembled squad was facing its first loss at home since December 2010 until Dzeko sparked the recovery by heading in a corner in the second minute of stoppage time.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/14_05_pg-17b.jpg

There was still time for one final moment of drama in an unpredictable season when Aguero drove home the winner.

As the final whistle blew, thousands of City fans poured onto the pitch and blue smoke wafted around the stadium.

City’s title comes after more than a $1 billion of investment by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour, who took over the financially stricken club from ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Sept 2008.