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Barclays Premier League

Etihad Stadium 13th May 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Dean

Man City Manchester City vs Queens Park Rangers QPR

Man City 3

P Zabaleta (39)
E Dzeko (90+2)
S Aguero (90+4)

ft

QPR 2

D Cisse (48)
J Barton (S/O 55)
J Mackie (66)

Sky Sports 1 HD

Man City are Champions

Drama as City clinch title

Hosts score twice in stoppage time to deny neighbours the crown

Last Updated: 13/05/12 7:48pm

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Manchester City clinched the Premier League crown following a 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers which was awash with drama.

MATCH FACTS Man of the Match - Sergio Aguero: OK maybe he wasn't the star for 90 minutes but his goal with just seconds on the clock was the defining moment of a whole season. Controversy: No surprise that Joey Barton was the central figure. The former City midfielder had performed admirably before his moment of madness saw him sent-off for elbowing Carlos Tevez. His kick out at Aguero on the way off the field and the subsequent fracas will surely see him banned for a lengthy chunk of next season. Save of the match: Paddy Kenny was at fault for City's opening goal but he defied Balotelli at the death with a save which looked certain to preserve QPR's Premier League status. Talking point: Where to start? Barton's likely ban perhaps or whether City can go on to win a host of titles after getting number one under their belts.

Needing to match Manchester United's result at Sunderland, City surrendered a first-half lead to 10-man Rangers before roaring back in added time to deny their neighbours the title in spite of their 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light.

Pablo Zabaleta's 39th minute goal seemed to have put City on the road to victory and a first title in 44 years but the home side struggled to add a second to give them breathing space.

Within three minutes of the break they were punished when Djibril Cisse took advantage of Joleon Lescott's awful mistake to bring Rangers level.

The game took another swing in City's favour when Joey Barton was sent off for retaliating to a tangle with Carlos Tevez. His offence was compounded when he kicked out at Sergio Aguero as the QPR midfielder was dragged from the field.

But with City laying siege to the Rangers goal and ready for the coup-de-gras, the visitors broke away through substitute Armond Traore and his cross was headed in by Jamie Mackie.

City threw everything at the Rangers defence and with the title seemingly slipping away, Edin Dzeko gave them hope before Aguero fired in with just a minute of stoppage time remaining to send the Etihad faifhful into ecstasy.

Bolton's failure to beat Stoke meant QPR survived anyway, which was the very least their defiant defending deserved in a truly astonishing game.

For 38 long minutes the Blues could not find a way through their opponents' blanket defence.

Mark Hughes had set his side up to spend long periods without the ball and challenged City to find a gap.

David Silva came closest, driving one shot wide, having a near-post effort saved by Kenny and another goalbound strike blocked by Barton.

QPR remained defiant though, if not exactly composed.

It needed something a little bit different for City to open their opponents up. Zabaleta provided it.

Anxiety

With a sense of anxiety gripping the stands as news of their temporary status as number two in the Premier League filtered through, Zabaleta scorched in from the right flank.

He kept advancing after laying a pass off to Silva, who in turn fed Yaya Toure.

It meant he was within striking range when Toure flicked the ball through and let fly with a fierce effort towards the far post. TV replays did not do Kenny many favours as the ball slithered through his fingers, but in real-time, the QPR keeper had been exposed and his reaction was not quick enough as he turned and tried to claw the ball out of his goal after it had bounced in off the woodwork.

The stadium erupted. Suddenly, what was happening at the Stadium of Light did not seem quite so important.

Instead it was events at the Britannia Stadium that were of huge importance as, from being in a position of relative comfort in terms of their own top-flight status, QPR were now hanging over the trapdoor, with the famous fat lady beginning to clear her throat.

It meant Hughes, returning to the club that dumped him so unceremoniously in December 2009, knew he could no longer rely on his containment policy, which was both an opportunity for City and a reason to be wary.

And so it proved as Lescott made a disastrous decision to head Shaun Wright-Phillips' hopeful lofted pass back to Joe Hart. Cisse read it and duly smashed a first-time shot into the bottom corner.

Back came all those nerves, although the worry was soon replaced by fury at Barton's antics.

The one-time City midfielder, whose time at the club was scarred by so many problems, will receive an automatic suspension for elbowing Tevez in the face, but surely there will be an additional sanction for his attack on Aguero, which was deliberate, as he was ushered from the field, the incident sparking a mass confrontation which substitute Mario Balotelli wanted to get involved in.

The drama had only just begun though. And when Traore skipped past Zabaleta on a rare foray forward, his far-post cross was perfect for Mackie, who launched himself at the ball with a diving header neither Hart nor Lescott could keep out.

On came Dzeko, then Balotelli in a frantic attempt to grab a lifeline.

Both came close, Dzeko hitting a post, Balotelli drawing a fine save from Kenny as QPR abandoned any pretext of attacking intent.

It all looked to be in vain as the game entered five minutes of stoppage time.

Even the celebrations at Dzeko's leveller, when there were under four minutes left, were muted.

But when Aguero scored his 30th - and by far the most important and dramatic - goal of the season 120 seconds later, the roof came off the Etihad Stadium.

The Premier League has seldom seen a day like it.

Manchester CityTeam StatisticsQueens Park Rangers
3Goals2
11st Half Goals0
15Shots on Target3
10Shots off Target0
19Blocked Shots0
19Corners0
4Fouls7
1Offsides1
0Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards1
91.6Passing Success51.8
15Tackles22
86.7Tackles Success81.8
81.4Possession18.6
82.9Territorial Advantage17.1
711Total Passes164
66Total Crosses2
145Lost Balls149
56Recoveries37
79.61st Half Poss.20.4
83.72nd Half Poss.16.3

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 34 77
2 Chelsea 34 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 34 67
5 Everton 34 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 34 60
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 34 48
9 Newcastle United 34 46
10 Stoke City 34 43
11 Crystal Palace 34 40
12 West Ham United 34 37
13 Hull City 33 36
14 Aston Villa 33 34
15 Swansea City 34 33
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 34 32
18 Fulham 34 30
19 Cardiff City 34 29
20 Sunderland 33 26

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