The greatest moment in Premier League history. Sergio Aguero’s goal against Queens Park Rangers sent shockwaves from Manchester that perforated the eardrums of those standing on the pitch at the Stadium of Light. As the scoreboard flashed up to confirm Sir Alex Ferguson’s worst fears, he could only trudge down the tunnel, aware that something seismic had happened at the Etihad.
Rewind the clock five minutes and there was a whole different atmosphere for those in sky blue. Panic. Desperation. Heartache. The richly assembled team that was meant to end a 44-year wait for the league title - a wait United fans constantly reminded them of thanks to a banner at Old Trafford - had fallen at the final hurdle.
QPR needed the points to stay in the Premier League and even though Joey Barton had been sent off for kneeing Aguero, Jamie Mackie remarkably put them 2-1 up at the Etihad. This was City all over. Typical City. United under Fergie got the job done with a 1-0 win at Sunderland and here City were, throwing away their best chance for the title in a generation.
Roberto Mancini screamed on the touchline as the side that had looked so composed in the title run-in completely lost their way. The minutes ticked by, until before they knew it, the fourth official signalled five additional minutes. Mario Balotelli saw his header saved by Paddy Kenny before the experienced goalkeeper claimed a corner with ease. This just wasn’t happening for the hosts. A sense of urgency was injected into the crowd as they saw just how long of the Premier League season remained.
As David Silva’s corner found the head of Edin Dzeko, who powered the ball into the net, the nerves were replaced with another emotion - belief. A roar of real belief surged through the stands as the players once again realised that this was a serious possibility. This was football played right on the very edge.
Emotions were fragile. A Sky Sports camera found a City fan beating his plastic seat with his scarf in frustration after Samir Nasri gave away a needless throw-in, before begging those on the pitch to produce something. To rescue this desperate situation. Only one goal was needed to end all of this despair.
As Sky Sports cut to the split screen to show United had secured all three points, City ventured forward again. And then…
“Manchester City are still alive here, Balotelli, AGUEROOOOOOOO!”
93.20. The precise time on the clock the moment the ball hits the back of the net. Martin Tyler let the moment breathe perfectly for a few seconds, as he, and everybody in the stadium came to terms with what they had just witnessed.
Then, as Aguero was mobbed having whipped his shirt around his head, Tyler delivered more immortal lines. “I swear you’ll never see anything like this, ever again. So watch it, drink it in.”
This was a footballing moment that defied belief. City’s first Premier League title decided on goal difference in the last minutes of the final match of the season, to snatch the title back from their rivals. Only Michael Thomas’ goal for Arsenal in 1989 is comparable, but Tyler was right.
We will never see a moment like it ever again. Thank you Sergio Aguero, for etching your name into the history of not just Manchester City, but the Premier League.