City go 'crazy' at finish
ROBERTO MANCINI hailed Manchester City’s late heroics as a “crazy finish for a crazy season”. City’s 3-2 victory beat Manchester United, their cross-town rivals, to the championship by a goal difference of eight. Mancini, though, was unsure if this marked a power shift. “We are happy because we won this trophy after 44 years,” he said. “Now it’s important that we start to win a second title. We need to recover and after next year we can talk about the future.
“We need to improve. In two years we have improved a lot as a team. We need to improve when we play in the Champions League. This year we weren’t ready. This is an incredible moment. We wanted this title and we deserve to win this title . . . This is the perfect finale for a crazy season. We dominated this season for 28 games but, when we beat a team like United twice in one season, we deserve this.
“Five minutes from the end I didn’t think we’d win. But we deserved to win this and deserved to win the title . . . Manchester City can have a big future now.
“Fergie said he’s too young to retire, we’re happy he has three years left. I hope we can continue to win. In two or three years maybe he can have 10 years less,” he said in reference to the United manager stating the challenge of City was making him feel younger than his 70 years.
After a clock on the big screen inside the Etihad had counted back from 44 to zero to mark the end of City’s title drought and Vincent Kompany lifted the Premier League trophy Mancini said: “I think it was a crazy finish for a crazy season. I have never seen a final day like this. The best team won the title. I think we played the best football, conceded less goals, scored more goals, beat United two times.
“When you beat them and score more goals and concede less goals, we deserve to win. In the history of the club a final day like this does not exist. No, never. I am very proud for my players because they wanted to win this title. To beat a strong team like United is fantastic. We changed the history of this club. For this we should be proud.”
With Manchester United leading Sunderland 1-0 and, despite Joey Barton’s 55th-minute red card, City needed two late goals in the final five minutes of added time to secure the championship.
Edin Dzeko equalised in the 92nd minute before Sergio Aguero scored the winner. “I thought Mario [Balotelli] was going to have a go himself but he just moved it on one more and it fell at my feet and my only thought was to hit the target and it went in,” the striker said. “For sure it was the most important goal of my career, you score a goal in the last minute to win the title, I’m not sure that is ever going to happen again.”
Kompany, the City captain, said: “It was one of the best moments of my life, together with the birth of my child and together with the wedding. This game was crazy. There are no words to describe what happened today. I can just remember QPR shooting on goal twice and it was bang, goal. We are champions but it’s not about coming here for money and all these stories we’ve heard. We’ve dreamed of this all our lives, when we were kids and we had no money, we had nothing.
“I just remember jumping on top of Sergio when he scored the goal. He was crying on the floor, other guys were pouring their eyes out, strong personalities who you don’t see get emotional often and all of a sudden it was finished.”
Mancini’s father, Aldo, who suffered a heart attack two years ago, was at the match, and the manager joked the breathless finish had not been the best for either of them. “It’s better to win five minutes before . . . I hope next year we win one more game to the end. My father is okay. After we scored I was afraid for his heart. After this I feel 90 years old. It’s incredible, you cannot think of a final like this.” Guardian Service
Timeline: How the last-day drama unfolded
3pm (kick off): Manchester City stand one more win away from ending their 44-year wait for the title, but a point for QPR should be enough to keep them up. Manchester United must win at Sunderland and hope.
3.20: With City still deadlocked, Alex Ferguson’s men seize the initiative as Wayne Rooney nods home United’s opener at the Stadium of Light.
3.39: Pablo Zabaleta puts City in front at the Etihad Stadium with a long-range shot which is flapped into his own net by QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny – the title is heading City’s way.
4.08: A shocking blunder from Joleon Lescott lets in Djibril Cisse to snatch an equaliser for QPR. At present, the title is in United’s hands.
4.25: QPR are down to 10 men as captain Joey Barton is sent off after a clash with Carlos Tevez.
4.26: Astonishing scenes at the Etihad, as Jamie Mackie heads home an Armand Traore cross to put QPR 2-1 up, and the title edges closer to the red side of the city.
4.50: City substitute Edin Dzeko gives his side hope in injury-time as he heads an equaliser from Silva’s corner. But they still need another goal from somewhere.
4.54: Sergio Aguero strikes another goal in injury time and in a remarkable twist, City have snatched the title with a 3-2 win.
4.56: It’s all over: City are champions.