Aguerooooo! Players remember Manchester City's title glory 10 years on

Stars and manager recall the day Man City clinched the Premier League with virtually the last kick of the season

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

It was a sporting moment that will be remembered forever, the most dramatic end to a Premier League season ever.

And yet at least one Manchester City player involved in the last-day drama has spent 10 years trying to avoid watching repeats of that 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers on May 13, 2012.

Another admitted he thought he was seeing a title slip through his grasp on the last day for a soul-destroying third time.

Some believed triumph was destiny; others confessed to being riddled with anxiety and scared of losing.

A couple found it hard to recall exact details and one even reckoned superstition played a big part.

City went into that final game level on points with their bitter local rivals Manchester United but with a hugely superior goal difference.

Sergio Aguero wheels away after scoring the late winner against QPR to clinch the Premier League title. Getty

They needed only to match United's result to clinch their first title since 1967-68.

But with 24 minutes left, City were trailing 2-1 to QPR, while Wayne Rooney had given United a 1-0 lead over Sunderland.

City went into six minutes of injury time still needing two goals. In the 92nd minute, Edin Dzeko headed home to give them a slender lifeline.

Then, in the 95th minute, as the final whistle blew at the Stadium of Light to give United the win, Sergio Aguero played a one-two with Mario Balotelli at the edge of the box before firing in the winner and clinching the title.

It sparked commentator's Martin Tyler's famous scream of "AGUEROOOOOO!", unleashed pandemonium in the stadium and sealed the most dramatic end to a Premier League season ever as City snatched the crown from United at the very death.

Here, Manchester City’s players and manager talk about throwing away a 1-0 lead, trailing 2-1 in injury time and then winning 3-2 to end the club’s 44-year wait to again be called champions of England.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his team's third and matchwinning goal 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 Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Sergio Aguero: "We are one step from winning the title so you could see the nerves and the anxiety of the people around us.

"We weren’t playing well but Zabaleta’s opening goal gave us some composure on the pitch. My own game wasn’t as good as it should have been.

"The anxiety and nerves meant I wasn’t able to play like I wanted to. After Edin Dzeko made it 2-2, I grabbed the ball and I was thinking give me one opportunity, just one.

"I said to Mario Balotelli to stay up front while I dropped deep to find the ball and I told him the first thing I would do would be to play a one-two with him.

"There were two seconds when so much was going through my head. I thought about shooting, playing that one-two or that we might get a penalty.

"Finally the moment arrived and I just had to shoot. I don’t remember much after that, just the emotion and taking my shirt off. The fans went crazy, they were struggling to breathe."

Yaya Toure: "To have lost that at home would have been a disaster. No matter how it happened in the end, I think this whole club deserved to win the league in 2011-12 and the fans especially.

"We showed our mentality in those last five minutes. We created unbelievable history. It was such a proud moment."

Joleon Lescott: "I have never watched the game back since and I won’t watch it. I was involved in QPR getting the equaliser; it was horrible.

"I’m not sure people appreciate Edin’s contribution. Of all the people I have ever worked with, Sergio would have been the one I wanted on the end of that last-minute chance.

"After the game a few of us just had to be on our own for a short while to try to understand what had happened."

Micah Richards: "A lot of players would say they were cool, calm and collected before the game but I could see the tension in the dressing room. We knew Man United were waiting for us to slip up.

"Doubts set in at 1-2. Mario was on the bench with me and he said, 'Don’t worry, we are going to win this'. After Dzeko scored I knew it was our time.

"Winning was the best feeling ever. At 2-2 it was United’s title. No way could anyone who was there ever forget that day."

Pablo Zabaleta: "When you have the chance to win your first PL trophy it's something special but psychologically it was hard. That is the case no matter how well you had physically prepared for the game.

"My goal is now the forgotten goal but that’s OK. We made history that day. The hard way."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  Vincent Kompany the captain of Manchester City lifts the trophy following 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)

Vincent Kompany: "We didn’t dare to dream about winning the title until we beat Newcastle United away in the game before.

"For a while against QPR in the second half we lost control of the game. It felt like we threw it away, it was nearly curtains.

"At 2-2 I’m thinking this is going to be even harder to take. But it was so like Mario to have only one assist that season and for it to be for that goal.

"A whole season was all about millimetres and small margins. I’m claiming credit for a dummy run for the winner.

"No one knew what to do with the winning emotion; that’s how powerful it was. Usually afterwards the dressing room is players and staff. There must have been 100 people in there.

"I remember going to the gym just to take a moment to try to take in what had happened. When I lifted the trophy I can say I was the happiest man on Earth."

Joe Hart: "When Zabaleta put us 1-0 up it was almost as if it was meant as he'd had a great season but never scores. When we scored the winner I just remember bodies being everywhere.

"I just started running. I didn’t know where I was going. I would have lapped the pitch 10 times if no one had stopped me.

"I embraced Gael Clichy and I didn't want to let him go. You can’t forget also who we were fighting for that title. It meant so much to everyone."

Edin Dzeko heads the late equaliser against QPR. Getty

Edin Dzeko: "The game was so strange. After we scored to make it 1-0 people expected us to go and score more and close the game out but we stopped playing.

"Their equaliser felt like our legs had been taken away. We knew then what we could lose.

"When I scored to make it 2-2, everyone woke up. We believed again. When Mario passed to Sergio I thought it may be a little short, I thought there may be a penalty.

"Ten centimetres either way and it might not have been a goal. It was a crazy feeling. I don’t think that something like this will ever happen again. It was the best moment in my career."

Nigel De Jong: "It felt rock-bottom when they levelled and then took the lead. You could see and feel the upset and worry in the stands.

"At 2-2 it was then like a volcano erupting in the stadium. For the winner I got the assist for the assist. There was a lot of relief but you could tell how much it meant to the fans.

"It was very special. I doubt there will ever be a more dramatic end to a season but it would have been less stressful to have won the game by a few goals, that’s for sure."

Mario Balotelli: "When you are on the bench you really can’t do much. I was feeling scared but the way we played after it went 1-2 was incredible.

"For the winner I tried to control the ball but I got a touch from the defender and the ball ran away. I saw Sergio and Vincent. I thought Sergio might have space so I rolled it to him. He did everything."

Robert Mancini with the Premier League trophy after the win against QPR

Roberto Mancini, the manager: "Emotion was high for everyone in the stadium, including me. I thought beforehand it was impossible for us to lose the game.

"I think we deserved to win the Premier League that season. I was animated on the touchline because I was sure we would score again, I don’t know why.

"Winning created a wonderful memory for all of us and especially the supporters. When you do something like this, in this way, you can never forget it."

Gael Clichy: "In this game I saw all the emotion you can have in a football match. From the players, from the bench and from the stands.

"The assist for the winner from Mario wasn’t the best ever but probably the most important.

"Joe Hart gave me so much power with that hug at the end. It was one of those moments that will be in your head forever, not just because you’ve won the league but because you did something with a group of players that you’ve been fighting alongside from the first kick of pre-season to the last kick of the last game.

"It was a moment of pure joy that you shared with each other and the fans. Everyone in the stadium had that same feeling."

Gareth Barry: "I’d been substituted a couple of times in the season and Edin Dzeko had come on. He always seemed to score when it happened and it seemed to be a lucky substitution.

Mancini is really superstitious and I just had that feeling when I came off. However, no one could have envisaged what happened in the last three minutes.

"Everyone on the bench went ballistic. It’s an ending that is never going to be beaten."

epa03217457 Manchester City's Carlos Tevez (C) vies for the ball with Queens Park Rangers Joey Barton (L) and Djibril Cisse (R) during the English Premier League soccer match at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain, 13 May 2012.  EPA/PETER POWELL DataCo terms and conditions apply. http//www.epa.eu/downloads/DataCo-TCs.pdf

Carlos Tevez: "The game was out of this world. It was never going to be easy. Titles are never easy to win but we had a special group of talented players.

"It was absolutely incredible and a big step forward for the team and the club."

Samir Nasri: "People tried to make out that I signed for City for money but I joined to win trophies. I made the hard choice to fight for my place at a big club.

"In terms of statistics, 2011-12 was not my best season but what counts is the team and the title and so it was my best season.

"What an amazing way to win a Premier League and it was great to celebrate with my teammates and the fans."

David Silva: "Winning like that is not the best way because it was so stressful. You can certainly enjoy it more if you win the league easily.

"That afternoon was so tense. We made it hard for ourselves on that final day but I was so happy for everyone afterwards.

"We just kept going and never gave up hope, and when you have a striker like Aguero you know everything is possible."

Costel Pantilimon: "I didn’t say anything beforehand but I’d lost two titles in Romania in a very similar way to the way we won against QPR on the last day.

I was relieved because the pressure on us was very big. I was so happy for the team and the supporters."

Updated: May 13, 2022, 4:52 AM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL