Manchester City vs QPR: City Triumph or QPR Collapse?
It was a match that had everything.
The Premier League title was on the line.
A relegation was on the line.
Momentum swung on multiple occasions.
Someone lost their head and did something to hurt their side.
Multiple defensive mistakes were made and led to goals.
And it had one of the most breath-taking stoppage times in the history of Premier League football.
For a while there, it even seemed to feature a Greek tragic flaw.
It was everything you could ask for in a match and more.
In case you missed it, Manchester City vs. QPR was the greatest match in Premier League history.
Entering the match, Manchester City knew that a win would assure them the Premier League title for the first time in 44 years, while QPR knew that things needed to go right to keep them in the Premier League.
At the start of the match, the script followed what it seemed to for the most of the match: City attacking and attacking in the QPR box while Rangers seemed to content with defending.
Manchester United's goal in the 20th minute surely made the City supporters squirm, knowing that they would certainly need the victory to clinch the title.
In the 39th minute, Zabaleta got the breakthrough for City on what seemed to be a bit of a howler from Paddy Kenny.
At the half, it was City with the advantage in the title race, while Bolton's 2-1 lead at Stoke meant that QPR were in the relegation zone.
Out of the blocks in the second half, a terrible Joleon Lescott miscue let Djibril Cisse in behind the defense.
The French striker coolly slotted by Joe Hart, completely flipping the complexion of the Premier League race.
Less than 10 minutes later, QPR captain and loose cannon Joey Barton got tangled up with Carols Tevez.
When they seemed to have separated from each other, Barton suddenly let forth with a cheap shot, elbowing Tevez in the face on the edge of the box.
The red card being shown was not the end of matters, though, as the midfielder went on to take a kick at Sergio Aguero and go after Mario Balotelli on the sidelines.
What followed was more and more attacking from City, but the next QPR attack led to a shocking 66th minute goal by Jamie Mackie.
Suddenly, ten-man QPR were in the driver's seat, well safe of relegation and pushing City into what seemed to be a terrible loss.
The turn of events made you think that City may have been victims of hubris, celebrating their title before they had actually captured it.
However, what may have been the turning point soon followed, and it didn't even happen at the Etihad.
In the 75th minute, Stoke drew level with Bolton.
Hence, as the match drew to a close, instead of needing a draw to stay in the Premier League, QPR were safe.
As the match reached 90 minutes, QPR's sidelines began to cheer, knowing that their fates were sealed.
What followed was the most dramatic of finishes, as two City goals reclaimed the championship.
The first was a Dzeko header from a corner, a strange goal given City's inability to capitalize on so many corners prior to this one.
What caused that epic finish?
The second was one for the ages, as substitute Mario Balotelli silenced his critics by sliding Sergio Aguero into space to score with virtually the last kick of the match.
Perhaps playing with 10 men finally got to the tired legs of QPR, but it seems a bit coincidental that the comeback came just as Rangers knew they were safe.
Either way, Joey Barton can be to blame, as his red card not only set his side back, but also enabled the large amount of stoppage time that allowed Bolton's match to end first.
So, was the epic finale a manifestation of the triumph of Manchester City's will, or was it rather a result of QPR's contentment with the situation?
In the end, who cares?
City are champions.
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