MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City scores the opening goal past the outstretched Clint Hill of QPR during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium on May 13, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Manchester City have captured their third top-flight title in their club's history.
In the most dramatic fashion possible, Manchester City have captured the Premier League title for the first time since 1968. One of the best lovable losers in the Premier League was transformed into a European juggernaut overnight in 2008, when they were purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group, but it took until this season for their hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to finally pay off. They entered the day level on points with rivals Manchester United and ahead on goal differential, and barely pulled out a win at the death.
City couldn't have possibly left it any later and the manner in which they won the title will go down in Premier League lore forever. It was perhaps the best finish to a domestic league season in football history. City led 1-0 at halftime, but gave up an equalizer three minutes into the second half to Djibril Cisse. It looked like City were going to have a fight on their hands until the 55th minute, when former City star Joey Barton was sent off for an elbow to the throat of Sergio Aguero. Most assumed City would walk to another goal and a title at that point, but it was QPR who struck next, through a Jamie Mackie header.
The Citizens improbably trailed 2-1 to 10-man relegation battlers Queens Park Rangers at home, and they looked hopeless for the next 20-plus minutes before Edin Dzeko struck an equalizer in stoppage time. City sprinted back to the center to take the kickoff and with one of the final kicks of the ball, Aguero scored the title-winning goal, making it 3-2 in favor of City in the 94th minute.
When the final whistle blew, City fans stormed the pitch to celebrate. Manchester United defeated Sunderland and must have thought they had the title locked up, but heard the news of City's comeback just as their match ended. The shock on the face of Alex Ferguson can hardly be described. The legendary manager looked like he had just seen a ghost.