Tuesday 12 December 2017

'I didn't think we could win it but it was a crazy finish to a crazy season'

Mark Ogden

Vincent Kompany described Manchester City's injury-time title triumph as a 'miracle' after the most dramatic ending to a Premier League season left Roberto Mancini claiming he felt "90 years old".

With City trailing 2-1 to 10-man Queens Park Rangers as the clock ticked past 90 minutes, Mancini's team required two goals in five minutes of stoppage-time to deny Manchester United -- 1-0 winners at Sunderland -- a 20th league championship.

But a 92nd-minute Edin Dzeko equaliser, followed by Sergio Aguero's close-range strike two minutes later, turned desolation into delight for City, prompting a stunned Kompany to admit that his team had achieved the type of comeback usually associated with Alex Ferguson's team.

"Miracles do happen in Manchester, but it's this side of the road this time," Kompany said. "This game was crazy, there is no other word to describe it. I remember QPR having two chances on goal, but it just had to happen.

"When Sergio scored, it was one big blur. I remember jumping on top of him and he was crying on the floor. All of a sudden it was finished and we had won the league, but we expected to do it today.

"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. Now we are champions and that is all it's about.

"You want to say it's the best moment of your life, after the birth of my child and my wedding, but please never again this way, please."

City manager Mancini insisted that his team deserved to emerge as champions following their incredible fightback.

"Five minutes from the end, I didn't think we could win this game, but it was a crazy finish to a crazy season." Mancini said. "After this, I feel ninety years old!

"It was terrible at 90 minutes, but we scored to get the victory and I am very proud on my players. To beat a strong team like United is fantastic and we deserve a title. But next time, it's maybe better to win five minutes before this!

"This was very hard and hopefully it is the last time it happens this way.

"It's incredible. You cannot think of a final like this -- that would be impossible. But we deserved to win this game because we had a lot of chances."

With City still needing a goal to win the title when the full-time whistle sounded at the Stadium of Light, United had one hand on the trophy. Ferguson said that he expected City to go on to win after Dzeko's equaliser, but he warned that his side will respond to the challenge next season.

"They (City) can go on as much as they like," Ferguson said. "That's what you would expect, but the history of our club stands us aside. We have a rich history, better than anyone, and it'll take them a century to get to our level of history.

"When they said five minutes to go... I said to (assistant) Mick Phelan before the game that if they equalise late on, I think we'll be in trouble because of the impetus of scoring late on.


"At the end of the day, we have lost the league and there is nothing we can do and we congratulate Manchester City. Anyone who wins the league deserves to win it because it's a very, very difficult league to win.

"At the start of the season, if I remember correctly, I said 82 points would probably win the league this season and we are seven points ahead of that.

"But look, it doesn't matter, we've lost the league."

Aguero, who won the title with his 22nd goal of the season, claimed it was the biggest strike of his career.

He said: "My only thought was to hit the target and it went in. 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."

City defender Pablo Zabaleta, who opened the scoring on 39 minutes with his first goal for 12 months, admitted that he feared the title had gone when Jamie Mackie had headed QPR into a 2-1 lead following Joey Barton's second-half dismissal for lashing out at Carlos Tevez.

Instead, City will celebrate their first title in 44 years with an open-top bus parade through the city centre tonight. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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