Aguerooooo! Remembering the goal that set Manchester City on the path to glory 10 years on

Aguerooooo! Remembering the goal that set Manchester City on the path to glory 10 years on
Ten years ago on May 13, 2012, Argentine superstar Sergio Aguero scored the most famous goal in Premier League history.

As the ball hit the back of the Queen’s Park Rangers’ net it won Manchester City their first English top flight crown in more than 40 years, broke the hearts of neighbours Manchester United and immortalised the striker, who went on to become one of the greatest goalscorers in English football.

The goal stopped the clock at 93:20; it spawned a hospitality suite at the Etihad Stadium, myriad memes and gifs, memorabilia, books and documentaries. And now, a decade on and with no fewer than four more Premier League titles in the trophy room, City are ready to celebrate the 10-year anniversary in style. City are, of course, still embroiled in a fearsome contest for this year’s No 1 spot with arch-rivals Liverpool, but that clash of the titans will be shoved to one side temporarily as the class of 2011/12 are lauded for kick-starting the most successful 10 years in club history.

Although all of them have now left City, many of the star names will assemble in Manchester for a private get together and then a meet and greet in the city centre with a ballot allowing for 2,000 fans to attend a special event. Friday the 13th will also be the day that Sergio Aguero’s statue, No 16 shirt twirling around his head, is unveiled outside the Etihad Stadium.

The statue is the work of Philadelphia based Scotsman Andy Scott, who was also commissioned to produce works depicting David Silva and Vincent Kompany that already adorn the entrance to the Etihad Stadium. Other sporting works of the sculptor are based in the Sydney Olympic Park in Australia and at Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.

For anyone at the Etihad that memorable sunny Sunday afternoon in 2012, myself included, the memories are still incredibly vivid and unlikely to fade anytime soon. City knew that a win over relegation-threatened QPR would all but guarantee them the crown. They led United on goal difference and the Reds would have to win by nearly double digits at Sunderland to overturn the deficit.

Emotion flowed from the first whistle. First there was the ‘certainty’ that the title would be won when full-back Pablo Zabaleta opened the scoring six minutes before half time, then debilitating doubt as Djibril Cisse levelled just three minutes into the second half.

Hopes soared again when former City midfielder Joey Barton was sent off but nosedived to new depths just 10 minutes later when 10-man QPR took the lead through Jamie Mackie.

Every minute that passed after that saw hope seep out of the deflated home fans. "Typical City" was a phrase being worn out in the stands, United were winning at Sunderland and the chance to win the title had seemingly gone as the scoreboard displayed and then passed 90 minutes.

Five minutes of injury time were signalled and the majority of the 48,000 crowd summoned up a defiant roar. But even when Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko’s header made the score 2-2, in the 92nd minute, it just seemed the most cruel of teases. Another slap in the face to remind everyone in blue what might have been.

Then the miracle happened, almost in slow motion. Nigel de Jong won the ball back in midfield, Roberto Mancini, the City manager, was screaming from the touchline; Mario Balotelli, eschewing all his selfish striker’s instincts, laid the ball off to Aguero who didn’t break stride into the right side of the penalty area before hitting the back of the net with a low drive. For a moment time seemed to stand still and then sheer pandemonium as the stadium erupted and those who had left scrambled to get back into the ground.

Aguero disappeared under his teammates; Joe Hart and Gael Clichy, the two City players not in the QPR half, met for a memorable embrace close to the City penalty area; assistant manager David Platt, the former England international, hared off up the touchline to goodness knows where and Mancini looked to the heavens and let out a roar that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Lion King.

At Sunderland, the home fans teased the travelling United contingent who seconds earlier had been celebrating what they thought was certain title glory. The contrast couldn’t have been more stark. The "noisy neighbours", as Alex Ferguson had dubbed City, had fully found their voice.

It seemed like hours and a sea of tears later that Vincent Kompany hoisted the Premier League trophy to the heavens and Manchester City’s decade of dominance began.

Afterwards the City captain and some of his players admitted that they had needed time alone in various quiet corners deep below the stadium to even try to compute what had happened in the game and what they had achieved. Meanwhile, a party started in the stands that has hardly stopped since.
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